Airbus’ Connected Cabin Will Measure If Your Seat Is Reclined, an Aircraft’s Bathroom Usage and More
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Airlines are working to become smarter by using big data and analytics in all aspects of their business. But surprisingly, there’s not a whole lot of data about how the inside of the cabin is used.
Airbus is trying to fix that with its “Connected Cabin” concept it displayed at the APEX Expo in Boston on Tuesday. Connected Cabin will link different elements of the cabin like seats, galleys and lavatories to a central data collection system, explained Ingo Wuggetzer, Airbus’ vice president of cabin marketing. The concept is still being tested, so don’t expect it to be on your next commercial flight.
The smart cabin will collect data wirelessly and monitor different parts of the cabin in real time. For instance, the galley will have sensors that can tell how many drinks are left on board or if all of the cooking equipment is locked in place for takeoff. Right now many of these things have to be checked manually — meaning this could be a huge time saver for crew and could help aircraft turn around quicker. Some equipment could even be controlled remotely, like warming up a pot of coffee.
In the Connected Cabin, flight crew have access to an integrated ordering system, notifying them if someone ordered food or beverage, and then keeping that data on the passenger to better personalize their experience in the future.
In the past, if an airline wanted to know how often people used the lavatories, they’d have to put an employee in a nearby seat and have them count how many people went in and out throughout the flight. Airbus says that when carriers know more about how their airline operates they can reduce cost and increase revenue. Passengers may experience lesser delays if the catering crew is automatically notified that an outbound aircraft will need extra meals on its next flight.
Airbus wants the technology to be integrated into every part of an aircraft’s cabin like the cargo hold, IFE, overhead bins and even the seats. Airbus worked with seat manufacturer Recaro to create a smart seat that’s integrated into the Connected Cabin.
The seats work to display some incredibly detailed information about how passengers spend time in their seats. The connected cabin tablet, using the iSeat program, displays who’s in each seat, if it’s occupied, whether the armrests are up or down, if the seatback table is in use and if passengers are reclined or not. When an attendee demoed the seat, it turned yellow almost immediately, indicating that it was occupied.
Data like this could lead to all sorts of possibilities. If an airline knows that passengers rarely recline on flights of less than an hour, then it may place aircraft with seats that recline less on routes where it thinks travelers would tolerate it.
Safety checks have been streamlined, too. Alongside Fujitsu, Airbus recently introduced a scanner that reads an RFID chip attached to different aircraft safety items like oxygen tanks and life vests. Crew and maintenance workers only have to go up and down the aisles and point the scanner gun at the seats, which can collect all the data they need on an A350’s business-class cabin in just 15 seconds, an Airbus rep explained.
The device’s display will turn seats green if safety standards are up to par, yellow if there may be soon be an issue and red if the safety device has to be replaced.
Connected Cabin will be completely integrated with Skywise, Airbus’ big data platform that’s used to predict maintenance issues and analyze fleet operations, among other functions.
All images by the author.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.