Canada’s two largest airlines say artificial intelligence can be a game-changer for aviation.
Are robots more, or less, reliable than humans? It depends on the task.
For general data problems where humans simply can’t keep up with the ever evolving last minute changes, artificial intelligence (AI) is a great solution, as per the booking examples above.
“For other problems that require more consideration for human emotion, such interacting with and serving passengers in flight, robots won’t be replacing humans any time soon!”. These are the words of Jeremy Miller, VP Marketing at Sentient Technologies, whom describes the changes that will likely occur in the aviation industry as a result of AI as he told to Kristina Velan, digital editor of APEX Media.
Air Canada and WestJet are joining airlines around the world by spending undisclosed amounts of money on AI in an effort to harness technology that promises revolutionary advantages for both carriers and passengers.
Several large airlines in the US and Europe have deployed AI in chatbots that respond to common passenger questions, machine learning algorithms to help automate airline operations and facial recognition to verify identification for luggage and boarding.
“It’s really an untouched area for the airline industry that we need to develop very fast,” new WestJet CEO Ed Sims said in an interview to The Star adding he’d like to use the technology to create a “virtual concierge service” similar to Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
The aviation sector’s investment in AI is expected to grow from $152 million (U.S.) this year to $2.2 billion by 2025, for a compounded annual growth rate of more than 46%, according to a report from research firm Markets and Markets.
New technologies such as AI are essential as a doubling of global passengers over the next two decades strains air traffic control, airport and aircraft systems, according to data from the International Air Transport Association.
Many of the benefits will occur behind the scenes in airline operations, but that is expected to trickle down to passengers through improved efficiency and cost savings.
Artificial intelligence will be critical to improving the passenger experience before, during and after flights, said Rodrigo Acuña Agost, head of AI Research at Amadeus IT Group. Even could help on the problem of overbooking. AI may not solve the problem completely, but it could help significantly reduce the problem, especially when it comes to boarding passengers, added Miller.
The global travel technology company has partnered with Air Canada to install a passenger service system that will improve service on everything from reservations to personalized customer service and simplified rebooking.
AI is being explored in the commercial airline segment of the aviation industry and is being integrated across multiple areas including customer service, airport and flight operations. Airport development will be a particular area of importance according to an annual report published by the IATA.