Business & GA

Microsoft, Boeing Talk Artificial Intelligence at NBAA

By S.L. Fuller | October 12, 2017

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A Microsoft global industry solutions manager spoke during an educational session during the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) convention in Las Vegas and alerted the audience to the fact that artificial intelligence could soon disrupt the GA community.

“From steam through to electricity, electronics and IT, and onto the digital era, technology evolves rapidly,” said Microsoft’s Greg Jones, as reported by NBAA. “Very quickly we’ve gone from the app world where everybody is really happy to be able to integrate with technology and information relevant for them, to a world where technology enables more personalized service presenting exactly what you want.”

The session, “Technology-Driven Trends in Business Aviation,” discussed how the industry could benefit from these futuristic technologies. For example, NBAA noted, HoloLens presents augmented images to a person within a physical environment, allowing flight departments to be designed while standing in an empty hangar. It could also allow aircraft maintainers to see how complex assemblies fit together when working on an engine or an air traffic controller to prioritize information in specific situations and conditions.

“Think about this in your industry,” said Kristin Zaccheo, director of integration and alliances at Boeing’s digital aviation and analytics division, according to NBAA. “Pilots fly all over the world communicating with ATC, but how often are they not able to understand an instruction? This is a way to utilize technology to account for confusing speech patterns or instructions and convert them to a highly accurate digital record.”

She also discussed apps like Uber and Airbnb bringing what were once public activities, like hailing a taxi or staying in a hotel, to something more personal. The apps allow users to summon a car from their phones or rent out a house at their fingertips.

“I see a world where I no longer pay for a United flight, but rather I buy a seat and I get on the airplane and go,” Zaccheo said. “That could be disruptive, as it’s a structure that looks a lot like business aviation.

“As you drive things down into a commodity, that allows you to focus on things that are true differentiators,” she added. “Make the easy things easy, so you can figure out the harder problems you need to solve. I want pilots solving the hardest problems in the cockpit — not the stuff we can easily automate.”

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