In a move that may appear to some folks as somewhat Orwellian, Airbus has announced its new aircraft will be equipped with technology to track and monitor passenger behaviors.
The Airbus Connected Experience wants to give passengers a “digitally aware” experience and will be keeping tabs on everything from bathroom times to the drink preferences of its customers.
But that’s not the only thing the new and “improved” Airbus will be able to track. The new planes will be equipped to digitally track times it takes for flight attendants to answer a passenger’s call, the crew will also have fast access to what amenities are on board, BNN Bloomberg reported.
The technology will track (and collect?) passenger behaviors, giving the airlines an inside glimpse on what that their customers prefer, and what they don’t.
“You can make the service more attentive,” Ronald Sweers, an Airbus cabin-products director told Bloomberg.
It can also be helpful in the sense that crew can be more quickly alerted of a problem onboard, such as a passenger in need of medical attention.
“It’s not a concept, it’s not a dream: It’s reality,” Ingo Wuggetzer, Airbus’s vice president of cabin marketing, told Bloomberg on Tuesday at an aviation trade show in Los Angeles.
“Airbus has begun flight testing the connected cabin on its A350 test aircraft and plans to introduce it on the A321 family in 2021, followed by the larger, two-aisle A350 series two years later,” Bloomberg reported.
While the digital move is designed to streamline the passenger experience and deliver Airbus priceless information, it’s unclear how the general public will feel about it.
For example, planes may be equipped with cameras outside lavatories to monitor wait times. While the “prying eyes” will remain on the outside, devices tracking soap use, toilet paper and other amenities may be tracking on the inside.
For now, Airbus is busy trying to get the airline industry used to the idea in the hopes customer airlines will use the system.
“The feedback we heard from airlines was, ‘OK, Airbus, we don’t believe you’re able to give us an application that will work with our systems,’” Sweers said on the trade show floor, discussing the galley equipment.
Meanwhile, we’re just glad Airbus has plenty of technology already in the cockpit. Enjoy the cool video below from a pilot’s view below:
Airbus A320 night departure ✈️✨ pic.twitter.com/jQEhhGwyPZ
— Airplane Pictures ✈ (@ilove_aviation) September 7, 2019
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