In the future, your airplane cabin will know a lot about you.
Airbus debuted its new “Connected Cabin” in Boston this week at the APEX EXPO conference. The technology could remember your favorite onboard meal orders, monitor how much time you spend in your seat, and help cabin crew keep track of what’s happening back in the galley.
“We connect all the elements of the cabin wirelessly, collect all the data and provide that to the airline to do data analytics to reduce costs and improve ancillary revenue opportunities,” Ingo Wuggetzer, Airbus’s vice president of cabin marketing, said at the conference. The smart cabin will notify flight attendants of whose seats are reclined and who keeps their armrests up, among other things.
The equipment is meant to help cabin crew save time. Instead of hand signals or shouting across the cabin, they could use the Connected Cabin technology to track passengers’ needs.
The system could let them know how many drinks are left in the galley or provide assurance that all the cooking equipment is locked and ready for takeoff — something they must currently confirm manually. Instead of walking around the cabin to make sure everybody’s armrests are down, flight attendants could just check a screen.
The technology could also keep track of customer orders. If a passenger requests a snack box on every flight they’ve taken with the airline, cabin crew could see their historical preferences.
Safety checks could also be streamlined and automated with the system. Information from the Connected Cabin could be used as aircraft undergo maintenance.
The project is still only a concept being tested, so passengers shouldn’t expect to see it on their next flight — but it’s a window into what’s to come.
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