UK aerospace company FliteTrak is launching smart seating technology that it claims will revolutionize cabin metrics and maintenance.
The increasing level of technology wired into aircraft cockpits has been staggering in recent years. Analogue instruments have given way to electronic displays and touchscreens; auto-pilot systems are now smart enough to be in control for the majority of a flight. Now one UK start-up wants to bring that level of automation and awareness into the cabin.
FliteTrak is set to launch its ViatorAero smart seat technology with a number of aviation interior companies across Europe.
ViatorAero technology brings a new level of in-flight analysis to the cabin, monitoring individual seats for temperature, passenger movement and seatbelt closure. It can also control and lock overhead containers, detect mobile phone activation and provide an environmental overview of the entire cabin interior.
The information gathered is sent directly to the ViatorAero application, which the cabin crew can access with a smart device.
Low-power sensors in each seat are able to detect movement and the status of the seatbelt. It’s thought that this will make the work of the cabin crew more straightforward in two ways. First, instead of checking each belt by sight, a simple dashboard shows the status of every seat on the aircraft.
Second, movement sensors can indicate to cabin crew if a particular passenger is restless, uncomfortable or having difficulties. The crew can then monitor those passengers more closely and offer a personalized service.
Predictive maintenance and fleet efficiency
ViatorAero technology can also help aviation providers benefit from predictive maintenance and greater fleet efficiency.
Broken equipment such as trays, seatbelts and screens can be logged and recorded by the cabin crew, with the data transmitted to maintenance crews for rapid correction. Sensors actively track the thickness of the foam seating, alerting a maintenance crew when wear and tear has reached a certain level.
A range of cabin data is also logged for later analysis, which can provide useful information to help improve maintenance turnaround times and enhance the flying experience for passengers.
Currently, FliteTrak is working with two aviation interior companies. It is also joining forces with the Institute of Experimental Psychophysiology in Dusseldorf, looking closely at passenger comfort analysis using data from ViatorAero.
FliteTrak – propelling IoT into the sky
With the ability to detect mobile phone signals in flight and a range of predictive maintenance capabilities, FliteTrak could improve safety and efficiency for aviators. But it’s customer service where the technology comes to the fore.
FliteTrak’s joint managing director, Trevor Lea, said: “Innovative technology delivering personalized service for passengers and efficiencies for airlines is the future of air travel.”
“Underpinned by award-winning core technology, ViatorAero is aviation’s first ‘smart’ remote condition monitoring system of its kind which has been proven to work. It is unique technology which propels the Internet of Things into the sky, giving visionary airlines and suppliers the edge in an increasingly competitive market.”
He also hinted that the company’s strong relationships with European partners will not be affected by the Brexit vote. “We are working with leading aircraft interior companies to bring ViatorAero to market on a pan-European basis,” he said.
“Although based in the UK, the impact of Brexit will be minimal, with strong continental relationships and clients in place, and an ambitious long-term growth strategy.”
FliteTrak will be exhibiting its technology the Paris Airshow on June 16 to 25.