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Turbulence is a bumpy business. Besides inducing anxiety in passengers around the world, it costs the airline industry about $100 million per year because of factors like crew and passenger injuries, maintenance, operational issues and money lost while planes are out of service, according to IBM’s The Weather Company.

As a result, IBM is partnering with in-flight wireless behemoth Gogo to provide pilots and other airline personnel with real-time turbulence reports in an effort to improve safety — and the airlines’ bottom line.

Last week, Mark Gildersleeve, The Weather Company’s president of business solutions, introduced the Turbulence Auto PIREP System (TAPS), a turbulence-detecting algorithm that will monitor the intensity of turbulence on a flight’s path. Up-to-the-minute reports would then be sent to both pilots and on-the-ground dispatchers so that aviation personnel can make quick adjustments to avoid turbulent skies — making for a safer flight for passengers and crew, and less time and money lost by the airlines.

“Leveraging Gogo’s expanded fleet of aircraft, The Weather Company can quickly share real-time turbulence data directly with pilots and dispatchers, thereby improving crew and passenger safety,” Gildersleeve said. “It is a great example of the Internet of Things in action, where we are collecting massive amounts of data very quickly and then using that insight to provide guidance to all flights that will be traveling through impacted air space.”

“In this increasingly connected world, it’s no longer just about passenger connectivity,” added Andrew Kemmetmueller, Gogo’s vice president of connected aircraft services. “We have to consider all the other ways we can leverage the available technology to enhance the overall flight experience and improve safety — such as a connected aircraft. Our ability to provide access to real-time data through our network will help pilots and operations teams improve flight planning, and ultimately, help airlines deliver the best in-flight customer experience throughout a flight.”


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