Airbus is proceeding with an IoT Platform for the Cabin.
Previously just a concept study, co-operation agreements have been signed with three best-in-class partners: gategroup, Stelia Aerospace and Recaro Aircraft Seating – with more expected to join.
Known as the Airbus Connected Experience, the platform will link in real-time with 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 personalised 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 onboard all their aircraft. The platform will also allow wireless streaming to passengers and will enable airlines to host third-party applications for movies.
Soeren Scholz, Airbus’s SVP Cabin & Cargo Programme, said: “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.” He added: “This seamless interconnectivity within the cabin will also be of tremendous benefit to passengers who will be able to enjoy individually tailored, personalised and high quality in-flight service.”
The “Connected Experience” includes the connected galley which will enable passengers to pre-order from a dedicated prediction of preferred food and beverage for passengers. It will also enable cabin crew to benefit from full transparency of inventory management for efficient operations, as well as facilitating remote passenger communication to deliver quick and personalised passenger service based on individual preferences.
The connected seat will provide passengers with personalised seat position settings as well as remote ordering of preferred beverages or meals via personal devices. On their IFE screens passengers will be able to receive customised content including movies of interest or relevant advertisement for topics they are interested in.
The Connected bin will indicate free space to place passengers’ luggage faster, and could also enable space management, so that passengers can book the space for the bags in advance.
This platform is designed to be line-fit or retro-fit and will be available on the A320 family first, before extending to other Airbus programmes. Not only is this platform fully compatible with Airbus’s Open Software Platform (OSP) currently offered as a service, but the Connected Experience will also be ‘Skywise Ready’ for future data analytics – allowing predictive maintenance.