The Need For The Aerospace Industry To Embrace AI & IoT

COVID-19 was a major setback for the aerospace industry, but it is back on the rise. Learn how solutions powered by AI and IoT are helping the industry innovate.

While the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 caused the largest contraction in the history of the commercial aerospace industry, the rollout of reliable vaccines in 2021 is likely to encourage the beginnings of a rebound in passenger traffic. 

The last year has presented commercial airlines with a historical challenge but also an opportunity to restructure their operations for the digital capabilities that have become the standard in other sectors.

As PWC commented, the commercial aerospace industry “lags [behind] some other industries in terms of applying digital to create value,” and while applications like 3D printing have become widely used “larger-scale digital transformation is relatively rare.”

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies prepare the aerospace industry for recovery?

Read on to learn more.

What are machine learning, computer vision & other terms commonly associated with artificial intelligence? Check out our guide to AI to get an overview!

What is Aerospace?

Before we look at the various ways AI and IoT are affecting aerospace, we should first define what the industry is all about. Broadly speaking, the term “aerospace” relates to manufacturing that deals with vehicular flight within and beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. The industry itself is engaged in the research, development, and manufacture of flight vehicles, including unpowered gliders and sailplanes, lighter-then-air craft, heavier-than-air craft (like an airplane), missiles, and spacecraft.

The most competitive aerospace companies do their best to stay on the edge of technological progress in order to fuel technological advancements. Interestingly, most general aviation (primarily private, business, and nonairline commercial) aircraft are sold in the United States, though Europe is becoming a growing marketplace and special-use markets are developing in the Middle East and Latin America.

The Rise of AI and IoT in the Aerospace Industry

As airlines continue to navigate lower passenger numbers and supply chain disruptions, the turn to digital business models can assist in finding a path forward. The slow pace of recovery presents an opportunity for the aerospace sector to invest in the future and begin adopting the digital tools that are driving innovation in other industries.

With artificial intelligence and IoT capabilities, airlines are finding new ways to improve passenger safety, redefine the design and manufacture process, and transform customer experience.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

A BusinessWire report shows that AI spending in the U.S. aerospace industry is projected to reach $2,027.6 million by 2025. Where AI algorithms are implemented, they serve to simplify the efforts of data analysis, both for equipment performance and operational efficiency.

While it will be quite some time before technology is able to produce the sort of self-piloting vehicles that enable autonomous flight, AI is has been instrumental in driving operational efficiency.

Common AI applications for AI software include:

  • Predictive maintenance schedules for aircraft assets reduce equipment failure, eliminating downtime while generating savings.
  • Streamlined design processes using digital tools, AI simulators, and virtual reality testing when prototyping, budgeting, and manufacturing.
  • AI-driven performance evaluation and insights that can assist in reducing fuel consumption, particularly during the climb phase.
  • Improved safety and advanced threat detection through AI-enabled facial recognition in airport cameras and cabin sensors.
  • Chatbots that resolve customer issues swiftly, contributing to satisfaction and loyalty.

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Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT-connected devices can improve business efficiencies while enhancing customer experience. According to Allied Market Research, “The global IoT in aerospace and defense market was valued at $19,175 million in 2016, and is expected to reach at $40,950 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 11.8% from 2017 to 2023.” This network of internet connected sensors and devices provide valuable real-time performance updates that improve safety and transparency at every stage.

It is important to note that many IoT capabilities work in combination with AI systems in order to track and analyze real-time data.

Common applications for IoT sensors include:

  • Real-time equipment performance tracking provides operational transparency, assisting pilots while the plane is in flight.
  • Reduced time-consuming ground time through AI managed IoT systems that track part degradation and plane positions leading to streamlined runway management and maintenance time.
  • IoT assisted inventory management that tracks items in both onboard luggage compartments and carry-on overhead compartments
  • Enhanced customer experience with IoT Connected active panels that digitally connect passenger with flight crew.

While recovery efforts are likely to remain slow, airlines are learning the best ways to leverage digital technologies for rapid, resilient recovery. Customer expectations will continue to evolve, but airlines who take advantage of innovations like AI and IoT may find themselves one step ahead of the curve.

The enhanced capabilities afforded by digital tools provide optimized equipment performance while transforming customer experience. Airlines who take the step toward digital transformation now will be much better prepared to stay competitive while welcoming another decade of industry innovations.

Are you in the aerospace industry? Click here to learn about Stefanini’s capabilities!

How Stefanini Can Help

The aerospace industry remains in the wake of one of the greatest market contractions in the sector’s history. As vaccines make air travel accessible once again, market demand is poised to grow exponentially. This challenge also serves as an opportunity for airlines to restructure their operations for the digital capabilities that have become the standard in other sectors.

That’s where the Stefanini Group comes in.

Our 30+ years of expertise and co-creating approach make us uniquely positioned to assist the aerospace industry in its recovery. Our connected solutions are powered by our technological capabilities in AI and IoT. We offer SAI – Stefanini’s Artifical Intelligence suite – which is powered by machine learning, robotics, data analytics, and more, as well as agile squads that help you implement the right solution for your business. Further, we integrate AI, data, and automation to leverage IoT technology that collects data; we then apply predictive analytics for powerful insights.

Ready to learn more? Our experts are standing by. Give us a call today!

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