Artificial intelligence (AI) used in language model-based forms like ChatGPT and others as well as other forms of AI such as computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), data analytics, simulation, robotics and automation is here. Are you ready for it? Because it is ready to help you — the collective you of aviation and aerospace.
Let’s look at some of the ways AI will help and change business for the better. First, AI will provide smarter automation. AI can automate routine and repetitive tasks across industries, freeing up human workers to focus on more complex and creative endeavors. This can lead to increased productivity, cost savings and the development of new job roles that require human ingenuity, rather than those repetitive, time-consuming tasks that take up so much of each day.
AI can analyze vast amounts of data to gain insights into user preferences and behavior. This enables the delivery of personalized recommendations, tailored content, and targeted advertisements. Users can benefit from more relevant and engaging experiences across various platforms and services. More on this in a bit.
AI can optimize logistics and supply chain management, leading to more streamlined operations. With all the supply chain drama of the last several years, this is desperately needed.
In aviation and aerospace, AI will be used to improve aviation safety by analyzing large amounts of data, including flight data, maintenance records and weather patterns. Machine learning algorithms can identify potential safety risks, predict maintenance needs and optimize flight routes.
Additionally, AI can assist in detecting anomalies and potential security threats, enhancing airport security measures.
AI will be used to optimize air traffic management by analyzing real-time data on weather, airspace congestion and aircraft trajectories assisting with the long-desired, but difficult to achieve, trajectory based operations. AI algorithms will help optimize flight paths, reduce delays and improve fuel efficiency. Additionally, AI will assist air traffic controllers in managing complex airspace operations, improving overall safety and efficiency.
AI is set to revolutionize aircraft maintenance by enabling another much-discussed dream: predictive analytics. Machine learning algorithms can and are already analyzing sensor data from aircraft systems to detect anomalies and predict equipment failures. This will allow for proactive maintenance, reducing unscheduled downtime and improving operational efficiency, a goal for the maintenance industry for years.
AI-powered systems will assist pilots by providing real-time data analysis, decision support and automation of routine tasks. For example, AI algorithms can analyze weather conditions, flight parameters and aircraft performance to provide pilots with optimized flight plans and in-flight guidance. This can enhance situational awareness and decision-making capabilities.
AI can be used in the design and optimization of aircraft and spacecraft. Machine learning algorithms can help in the analysis of complex aerodynamic models, structural optimization and the exploration of novel designs. AI can assist engineers in creating more fuel-efficient and lightweight aircraft, leading to reduced emissions and improved performance.
And let’s not forget the most rapidly changing sector of aviation right now: urban air mobility. AI is playing a crucial role in the development of autonomous systems for aviation. AI is enabling these systems to navigate, sense their surroundings and make decisions without human intervention.
AI is being applied to ATC and airport systems, with the hope to enhance many tasks from training to operations. Airports are using AI and big data to optimize all sorts of processes across a full range of operations. One example is the “digital tower”, which harnesses the power of air traffic management (ATM) data and AI to enhance resilience, capacity and efficiency. One company, Searidge, has a digital tower product that is already being used in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Searidge says it has been pioneering the use of artificial intelligence in the industry for several years with its vision processing/remote tower technology. According to its website, Aimee is Searidge Technologies’ advanced neural network framework for the development of AI-based solutions for ATC and airport efficiency. That company says, “Aimee has been developed to greatly simplify the configuration and training of neural networks with large and complex data sets; to allow the continuous evaluation and testing of output, and most importantly, to predict and certify performance within a safety critical context.”
The rise of AI products also brings ethical and regulatory considerations. As AI becomes more prevalent, it is crucial to address concerns such as privacy, data security, bias and accountability. Ensuring responsible development and deployment of AI technologies will be essential in shaping the future impact of AI on society.
I should note here that AI is not anywhere near perfect, yet. I think back to the subtle but scheming HAL computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, a foreshadowing of today’s AI, and how, due to a glitch began killing humans aboard the spaceship they shared. While that is a fantastical scenario, here is a more recent and relevant one.
A lawsuit was filed by a passenger who claimed to have been injured by a drink cart on a flight on Avianca Airlines. The passenger’s lawyers asked the court to throw out the airline’s defense because it contained references to precedented cases that, upon their research of them, proved to be non-existent. How did this happen? The attorney for the airline admitted to using ChatGPT to conduct his legal research. He even asked ChatGPT if the cases referenced in its response were real, to which it replied that they were real. ChatGPT had made up the cases it referenced.
FYI, ChatGPT wrote about 90% of this piece. Send me a note if you spot any inaccuracies or made-up cases and I’ll write about that myself in the next issue.