AIRBUS has decided to proceed with an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for the cabin, known as the Airbus Connected Experience, part of an effort to make commercial cabins a digitally aware domain.
The platform will link in real-time interconnected core cabin components, including the galleys, meal trolleys, seats, overhead bins, and other cabin elements. As well as allowing data exchange throughout the cabin for the crew, it is also planned that consolidated information could also be uploaded to the Skywise cloud for subsequent trend analytics.
The connected cabin will provide airlines, flight crews, and passengers with significant benefits. For flight crews, it means that they can access an integrated platform which keeps pre-flight and real-time data in one place, while passengers will receive a more personalized travel experience.
For airlines, the platform would allow them to use the aggregated cabin equipment usage trends (of the connected elements) to perform predictive maintenance analytics over their entire fleet – thus improving the overall cabin service reliability, quality, and performance on board all their aircraft.
“As airlines drive to improve operational efficiencies and reliability, they can now look to the Connected Experience, offered by Airbus together with our industrial partners, to link different elements of the cabin, seats, galleys, and trolleys into one central data system,” Airbus SVP Cabin & Cargo Programme Soeren Scholz said.
“This seamless inter-connectivity within the cabin will also be of tremendous benefit to passengers who will be able to enjoy individually tailored, personalized and high-quality inflight service,” he added.
To fully get a grasp of what this means for Airbus, here are some examples of the Airbus Connected Experience’s components:
The cabin crew will get a more detailed survey of the cabin, with sensors for such critical data as when bathroom soap is running low and how much toilet paper remains in each bathroom. To add on, it will also track how many people have queued up outside bathrooms, the waiting time, and how often bathrooms are being used and flushed.
But the rethinking of the passenger environment does not just stop with the bathrooms.
The Airbus Connected Experience will also give the crew access to information on what is on board and where like which galley carts contain specific meals such as pre-orders or vegetarian selections and passengers will be able to remote pre-order from a dedicated prediction of preferred food and beverage via personal devices.
And at each seat, passengers’ belts will signal red for unbuckled and green when fastened so the crew will know which passengers have not buckled their seat belts without doing the walk-through. This allows for faster boarding and departure.
The platform will also allow wireless streaming to passengers and will enable airlines to host third-party applications for movies on IFE screens. Passengers will be able to receive customized content including movies of interest or relevant advertisement for topics they are interested in – such as recommendations for concerts they would enjoy at their destination.
To benefit all parties (airlines, flight crews, and passengers), a “smart” bin feature will help indicate free space to place passengers’ luggage faster and also enable space management so that passengers can book the space for the bags in advance.