Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. You use AI in your car, home, and every “smart” device you own. In fact, 77% of today’s devices use some form of AI. But what you may not know is that AI in aviation has been changing the industry’s landscape

From safety advancements to managing air traffic more accurately and in real-time, AI is a potent tool with seemingly limitless potential. This is exactly why individuals and organizations can’t wait to get their hands on AI to propel their business forward.

So how exactly does AI in aviation impact the industry now and in the future?

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Advantages & Disadvantages Of AI In Aviation

The earliest AI application written in 1952 by Arthur Samuel is one most people are familiar with – a checkers program created for the prototype of the IBM 701. Then, auto AI capabilities are first used in Bosch’s anti-lock braking system (ABS) in a 1978 Mercedes-Benz W116. Many years later, Steve Jobs would power up the iPhone for the first time in 2007 at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, California.

Excess demand doubled funding for AI in 2021 to a staggering $66.8 billion.

As AI becomes commonplace in every industry, everyone wants in on its power to strengthen sales and business models. The aviation industry is no different. AI is used for everything from customer service to air traffic control (ATC).

The following are 8 key pros and cons of expanding the use of AI in aviation.

1. Safety Concerns Over AI In Aviation

A critical part of the flying experience for both people and businesses is its safety level. This is where AI systems can truly support overall aviation operations in several ways through real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, advanced equipment, and beyond. Enhancing these systems has the potential to reduce human errors and improve overall flight safety for everyone.

On the other hand, there is debate over whether relying on AI for improved safety enables humans to think less for themselves. Using AI also makes it much more difficult to place responsibility and accountability when things go wrong.

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2. Decreasing Overall Global Impact

Air travel accounts for about 3% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. This is why many people, airlines, and plane manufacturers are focusing on all-electric aircraft to reduce the carbon footprint of the traveling population. Professionals track flight routes, fuel consumption, and aircraft operations with AI for maximum efficiency and cost-saving benefits.

Some startups aim to have small electric planes flying short commercial routes by 2026. However, there are other concerns about all-electric aircraft like…

  • Battery energy density
  • Battery weight
  • Range limitations
  • Weight limitations
  • Certification and regulations
  • Battery maintenance

And until aviation and many other entities figure out all of the details, passengers won’t see a collection of all-electric aircraft anytime soon.

3. Predictive Maintenance Features

Many people feel relieved when their car’s AI alerts them of a tire with low air or an upcoming oil change. It’s cost-saving features like these that enhance safety for everyone onboard. The same can be said for AI-tracked aircraft maintenance.

Every aircraft has its own logbook where maintenance is tracked manually or digitally, depending on the model year. However, AI algorithms can analyze huge amounts of data from aircraft sensors, maintenance logs, and historical records much faster to predict potential issues and schedule maintenance proactively.

Increasing AI usage continues to bring up accountability and safety concerns as sensors malfunction and data depend heavily on the quality and completeness of the data they are trained on. Any biases or errors in the data could lead to incorrect predictions or recommendations.

4. Changing The Passenger Experience

If you remember when airport lines felt endless and there was no “fast pass” to get through security, you know how much of a difference AI makes toward efficiency. In aviation, several modern AI-powered systems make flying for passengers far more comfortable than earlier aircraft models.

A few of the most modern AI uses in aviation include AI-driven algorithms to:

  • Design and test phases of new aircraft for maximum performance
  • Track and sort baggage to reduce the risk of lost or mishandled luggage
  • Optimize crew scheduling for smoother operations
  • Allow passengers to manage their own booking and flight changes
  • Personalize in-flight entertainment

However, new problems continue to come up such as frustrations with…

  • AI chatbots
  • Overall lack of human-to-human customer interaction
  • Tap to scan or pay devices
  • System outages

5. Advanced Weather Forecasting

AI models analyze huge amounts of meteorological data much faster than humans. This is why AI is an incredible tool to predict the most efficient flight paths with weather conditions in mind. On top of using every drop of fuel as efficiently as possible, AI can also provide more accurate and detailed weather forecasts, leading to better flight planning and rerouting decisions.

However, the Earth’s elements are dangerous, unpredictable, and wild. This means that even the most advanced AI weather system may not be able to foresee extremely unusual or rare weather events.

6. Understanding The Use Of AI In Aviation For More Automation

One of the many reasons AI makes people uncomfortable is by believing that it will swiftly take over human workers in various aviation roles, such as pilots, maintenance technicians, and customer service representatives.

AI taking over various aviation jobs is a valid concern. However, many pilots, aircraft owners, and charter companies are figuring out that AI can be a tool for routine tasks. For example, AI can complete tasks like flight routing, scheduling, and beyond. This can lead to pilots focusing on other essential tasks while improving performance, reducing environmental impact, and saving travel time.

Looking at increasing automation with AI in aviation from another perspective, a few questions keep coming up without clear answers…

  • Is all aircraft information safe and secure?
  • Is there a manual system in place in case of AI system failure?
  • Where does the data come from and can it be trusted?
  • Who is trained and responsible for fixing AI systems?

Questions like the above leave aviation professionals wondering about the future of aircraft design, technicians, specialists, training, and education.

7. Questions About Accountability & Transparency

Integrating AI systems into aircraft operations could welcome new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. If not properly secured and protected, sensitive information can potentially be exposed. Furthermore, AI is complex and opaque, making it hard to completely understand the decision-making process to ensure accountability for improperly working AI systems.

The most notable concerns about accountability and transparency when using AI in aviation include:

  • AI data auditing
  • Establishing regulations and standards of use
  • Accountability for potential AI system mistakes
  • Ways to reduce the risks of bias and discrimination in AI systems

Addressing key points from the public around AI is crucial for ensuring the safe, ethical, and trustworthy adoption of AI technologies in aviation.

8. Trust In Aviation Professionals

Assuming that AI does everything for the aircraft and pilot is the root cause of many trust issues between computer systems, pilots, aviation professionals, and To the general public, the lack of human-to-human connection stands out.

About 60% of people prefer speaking to a live customer service employee over a chatbot. But people often use chatbots when there aren’t enough staff to handle high-volume requests. Furthermore, a poorly functioning AI system can impact how pilots and aircraft professionals are seen and valued.

With the widespread use of AI in aviation, it is still crucial to trust professionals and pilots because their expertise, judgment, and ability to handle unexpected situations remain indispensable for ensuring the ultimate safety and successful operations of aircraft.

How Is AI Used In Aviation?

Aviation has been using AI for many years now. Mostly, AI exists in aviation to…

  • Streamline and improve aircraft performance
  • Offer predictive data for weather, terrain, and more
  • Provide predictive maintenance notifications or updates

The focus of AI in aviation is likely to assist airport operations in running more efficiently, improving aircraft safety features, and enhancing the passenger experience.

However, in today’s changing landscape, AI has the potential to improve the health of the environment for future generations. Continuing fuel optimization, for example, will continue to be a critical use of AI to minimize overall global impact. Another opportunity to benefit the future by using AI is applying it to find fossil fuel alternatives, giving people the chance to transform all future ideas into more sustainable innovations.

Unlock The True Value Of Your Aircraft

A recent finding suggests the global artificial intelligence market is expected to reach an estimated $386.1 billion by 2030. Aviation is expected to account for $3.64 billion of those funds from 2023-2027.

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