Advancements that Will Shape the Future of Aviation Technology
The aviation industry is growing at a rapid pace. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines sold 3.5 billion seats in 2015, the equivalent of 48% of the world’s population. That is a 7.2% increase over 2014, resulting in an additional 240 million air trips.
Data like this makes it clear that aviation is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. The airline industry is investing heavily in technology to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.
Specific technological advancements have major effects on the passenger experience — and that’s a good thing.
Since time is a luxury for busy people, supersonic jets are becoming more commonplace in the private aviation industry. With these sleek and quiet speedsters, you can reach almost any destination in half the flying time.
The race is on in the commercial space, too. Airline carriers are working to build supersonic passenger jets that can fly from London to New York (and vice a versa) in just three hours.
Big Data Takes Flight
For the past four years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has sponsored a program with the goal to develop computational techniques to analyze large volumes of data.
The aviation industry is realizing the opportunity. Emirates and Etihad airlines have already invested in technology transformation projects with a focus on big data.
Biometrics and Aviation Security
Biometric technology — facial recognition, iris scanning and fingerprint-based identification — adds an additional layer of security and can create a more seamless passenger experience.
Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport introduced the single passenger token in 2015. Aruba Happy Flow links the biometric data with the passport and boarding pass, eliminating burdensome and time-consuming airport check-ins.
A year later, Air New Zealand installed 13 biometric-enabled self-service bag drop units in Auckland Airport, while Alaska Airlines and CLEAR have tested biometric boarding passes.
In 2013, the Geneva Airport introduced its first customer service robot, named Leo. Leo can check passengers in, print luggage tags and transport passengers’ bags.
Haneda Airport and Auckland Airport uses robots as well, but for jobs like luggage transportation or cleaning.
KLM launched the Spencer robot at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2015. Spencer interacts with passengers and guides them to their gate.
Unlike the traditional production methods, which use milling to manipulate solid materials, 3D printing can build items by creating layers of metal powder. This technology reduces an airplane’s weight and fuel consumption, saves time, and eases the production of more complex structures.