Ever since its inception in the early 20th century, air travel represents a cornerstone in the transportation industry. Whether it’s personal sightseeing, business trips, or family vacations, the aviation industry is heavily depended on by our modern society. As it has developed over past decades, innovations have slowly but surely enhanced the customer experience, and this trend continues today. Edward Traylor, the owner of an Aviation and Maritime Technology Consulting Firm based in Palm Beach County, Florida, has the latest scoop on the most recent and exciting advancements in aviation technology.
The emergence of computer systems and artificial intelligence has resulted in many tasks and procedures transitioning from being done by hand to being semi or even fully automated, in order to cut costs and in many cases accelerate the process. Edward Traylor notes that one such change under development relates to how aircraft inspections are undertaken: Drones are capable of fully automating the process. Hovering around the aircraft before takeoff, they can analyze and assess far more quickly than human eyes, freeing up precious time for engineers.
Additionally, artificial intelligence is also used for other reparations, being capable of predictive maintenance that not only prevents problems before they ever start, but also removes the need for scheduled maintenance thanks to the more perceptive eyes of digital systems. Lastly, the analysis of aircraft systems is being enhanced by a new concept called digital twins, virtual recreations of the different components within a plane allow for a real time view into how a system is performing at any given time; this drastically increases safety and stability for each individual flight.
The need for accessible Wi-Fi is only getting more prevalent with each passing year, and the aviation industry is trying its hand at providing this service mid-flight. Not only that, but the implementation of streaming services is also underway, allowing customers access to services such as Netflix mid-flight, allowing them to choose the in-flight movie that’s just right for them. Edward Traylor explains that the increase in wireless connectivity also extends to employees, as now cloud computing is being used to provide improved accessibility of critical information such as predictive maintenance and digital twins to everyone who needs to view the information at a moment’s notice, regardless of where they are.
The caveats of air travel are all too familiar: lost luggage, delays, and so on. Whereas in previous times they would have a significant impact on customer experience, technology is being used to soften the blow as much as possible. Luggage can now be tracked in real-time, and there are apps currently in development that can provide instant reimbursement in the case that it is permanently lost. In the case of delays, flight simulations now provide the most accurate means of predicting delays, and new programs are capable of automatically adjusting reservations and appointments in the case of a delayed flight.
There is a plethora of innovations underway for airline customer service. One such example is a change in methods for boarding — — — the implementation of facial recognition technology for faster wait times. Voice recognition technology is also being used to the same effect, providing a faster means of checking in. Accessibility is always important, and technology is readily able to fill in the gaps for any customers with additional needs. Edward Traylor states that one such example is the current development of an app that allows customers to specify what they need extra assistance with before they arrive, making it that much easier and faster when they get there. In the case of customers with low-vision or blindness, smart glasses are a tool being used to aid in order to ensure a positive experience.
Finally, for customers who need to eat in a hurry there are now food delivery services that will bring meals directly to the airport, alleviating the need for them to settle with whatever food vendors are physically present in the terminal, as well as plan meals to be ready in advance so they can eat in record time when every second counts.
In the end, technology will always be further developed in order to provide an optimal customer experience that is safer, easier and more efficient. Edward Traylor concludes that exciting new concepts are being created each year, and it’s safe to say that the flying experience is only getting better as a result.