Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has announced plans to conduct a three-month trial of using artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct its passenger count during the flight boarding process. The digitalisation of the passenger count procedure is intended both to enhance security and to ease the workload of cabin crews. The trial, being conducted together with an external technology partner, will take place on selected flights from Zurich between April and June.
Introducing AI involves a camera being temporarily installed in the aircraft cabin for the boarding process, which will record passengers as they embark and determine their total numbers. The recordings will be used solely to train the AI application in the boarding process. This training includes factors such as distinguishing whether a passenger is carrying an infant in their arms, and being able to function faultlessly in various scenarios, such as challenging lighting conditions. The results will be continually analysed throughout the trial phase to assess accuracy and steadily improve the AI’s reliability. As the AI system is in the trial stage, cabin crews will still conduct a parallel passenger count using the usual manual procedure.
Data security and data protection
Data security and data protection are major considerations for such a trial, and all the recordings made will be processed in full compliance with the strict European (GDPR) and Swiss (FADP) data protection provisions, and deleted afterwards. The data recorded will be used solely for passenger count purposes and no persons will be identified from them. In addition, only visual images will be recorded, and only in the aircraft door area. No further recordings (such as audio) will be taken. Passengers on flights with the AI cameras will be informed of the trial before they embark.
After the trial is concluded in June, SWISS will analyse the results and then decide on whether to undertake any further research, and ultimately whether to introduce the technology across its network.