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Half of airports and airlines to adopt AI by 2027

Air transport IT specialist SITA has released a new report outlining the technologies being adopted by airports and airlines to help predict the future and offset flight disruptions.

SITA’s analysis, titled The future is predictable, reveals that predictive tools using artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing are likely to be adopted by half of airlines and airports over the coming five to 10 years.

However, a few frontrunners are already trialling predictive modeling, machine learning, and data mining. These efforts are mainly focused on initiatives that will provide passengers with more relevant information about their journey to create more seamless and personal experiences.

It is thought that the adoption of AI and cognitive computing technologies will help to offset the cost of disruptions to the air transport industry, estimated at a cost of US$25bn annually.

Nigel Pickford, director market insight at SITA, said, “There is a desire to remove as much uncertainty as possible during travel. Airlines and airports are focusing on technologies that will make them more responsive to issues in their operations. This will enable them to improve their performance and customer services. At SITA we are funneling investment into specific research around disruption management. Our technology research team, SITA Lab, is currently developing disruption warning and prediction capabilities using industry-specific and public data feeds such as Twitter, to help tackle this huge challenge and reduce this tremendous cost to the industry.”

During 2017, SITA Lab will be validating delay predictions with airlines and airports and expects to complete up to five trials with its industry partners. The next stage will be to incorporate its delay prediction algorithm and disruption warning feeds into SITA’s services to the air transport industry.

In the report, leading airports and airlines share their experiences including Gatwick Airport where a seamless passenger experience from curb to gate is the goal. Here several different areas of airport activity are tracked to measure performance and move toward predicting it.

Chris Howell, head of business systems, London Gatwick Airport, said, “We’ve moved from ‘how did we do?’ to ‘how are we doing?’ and can now also answer ‘how will we do?’”

The science of artificial intelligence is developing quickly and airlines and airports are turning to the academic community to help them with predictive tools to tackle disruptions. SITA’s report discusses research that is being carried out with scientists from Binghamton University, State University of New York; University of Nottingham, as part the European Union-funded consortium PASSME; Carnegie Mellon University; Oxford University’s Data Science Laboratory in the Mathematical Institute; and University College London School of Management.

For further information, download SITA’s full report by clicking here.

Written by Dan Symonds

February 1, 2017





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