Airbus brings IoT to aircraft cabins

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At Aircraft Interiors Expo, Airbus announced that it will proceed with productionizing its ‘Airbus Connected Experience’ concept, an IoT platform for aircraft cabins. It is doing this in cooperation with a number of partners – gategroup, Stelia Aerospace and Recaro – with others to follow.

The platform will link a number of 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 Airbus’ Skywise cloud for subsequent trend analytics.

Benefits include having data in one place, being able to give passengers a more personalized experience, keeping track of equipment usage tends and perform predictive maintenance accordingly. The platform will also allow wireless entertainment streaming to passengers and accommodate airlines in offering third-party applications for movies.

Soeren Scholz, Airbus’ 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. 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.”

The program is intended to be both line-fit and retrofit, and will be available initially on the A320, with other models to follow later. It also integrates with Airbus’ existing Open Software Platform (OSP) currently offered as a service, as well as be ‘Skywise Ready’ for future data analytics

Connected galley and seats

The connected galley will enable passengers to pre-order food and beverages, with personalized suggestions given. It will also give cabin crew more transparency when it comes to inventory management and make passenger communication easier. Smart overhead bins, meanwhile, will indicate free space to passengers and crew, while also making it possible to pre-book space.

The final highlight of the connected cabin is the possibility for connected seats. A main force for this is Stelia Aerospace, which was presenting the connected version of its Opal first-class seat at the Expo.

In general, connected seats will provide passengers with personalized seat position settings, allow them to order food and beverages through using personal devices, and give them customized content suggestions on the IFE, as well as suggest things to do at their destination.

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