Airbus is working with industry stakeholders to create a data-producing aircraft cabin – covering smart galleys, lavatories, overhead bins and seats - with the aim of adding the data to its predictive maintenance and analytics platform Skywise.
“We are trying to create an ecosystem of all the devices, talking to each other in a secure way, creating a platform for compiling data and analysing it. We see ourselves as an enabler. Everybody in the industry will be partnering with us on this. We are a catalyst; we are not doing this on our own,” Airbus head of aircraft interiors marketing Anaïs Marzo da Costa said, speaking at the Passenger Experience Conference in Hamburg.
She gave examples, such as aircraft galleys which self-report defects and overhead lockers that can collect cabin-baggage data. The resulting information could be used to increase airline efficiency, improve the passenger experience and help manufacturers design better products.
“The whole idea is to have every commodity in the cabin talking to each other securely and in the same language,” Marzo da Costa said, speaking about the aircraft-cabin internet of things (IoT) concept.
At the moment, Airbus’ Skywise product is used by around 60 airlines to gather aircraft data, which is used for analytics and predictive maintenance.
“Our intention is now to link everything we are developing for the cabin to Skywise and offer it to the airlines,” Marzo da Costa said. “At the moment we are doing it [predictive maintenance] only with airplane data and what we want is to extend it to the cabin, working with sensors to draw on an IoT platform and then send it out to the cloud [internet-based storage].”
Marzo da Costa said airlines would have a choice whether they keep their data internal, or choose to share it with the wider aviation community on an anonymous basis.
Together with industry partners, Airbus is working to come up with standardization for the system, including common language and connectors, giving airlines greater flexibility and choice.
“Anyone could plug into it and, if an airline wanted to change [devices], go to new provider, or something else, they would have more freedom. That would be the final objective,” she explained.
“We are already working with other manufacturers and suppliers on this. We already have an association. Everybody is interested. Together with other manufacturers, we are thinking about working together to find a common and secure language, because at the end of the day it benefits passengers and airlines,” Marzo da Costa said.
Responding to a question from ATW, Marzo da Costa said that Airbus plans to integrate the first elements of the smart cabin next year, in 2020. “It is just the beginning; we are laying the foundations,” she said.