30.03.2017

Lufthansa Technik launches project for the digitalization of aircraft cabins

"Cabin 4.0" relies on state-of-the-art sensor technology

Lufthansa Technik AG's "Cabin 4.0" project relies on the use of intelligent automation to simplify procedures in the aircraft cabin for both passengers and flight crews and to offer increased comfort. For this purpose, tasks that have been performed manually so far will be taken over by state-of-the-art sensors, thus giving flight attendants more time for personal service. With financial support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), development work inside a real cabin is now set to begin at the ZAL TechCenter in Hamburg-Finkenwerder under the direction of Sven Taubert, Corporate Innovation Manager at Lufthansa Technik.

While digitalization is reaching more and more areas of our lives, its impact on the procedures inside an aircraft cabin has been minimal so far. In almost all passenger cars, for example, a sensor verifies that the trunk is closed properly, but the baggage compartments in an aircraft still have to be checked by the crew.

"We don't just want to replace the traditional reading lamp with LED lighting that can be turned on and off with a smartphone. We want the reading lamp to recognize independently when the passenger opens a magazine. If the passenger then decides to watch a film instead, the same lamp could provide that information via optical transmission," says Sven Taubert to explain the concept. "This increases passenger comfort and, at the same time, relieves the on-board WLAN networks."

In terms of other application examples, the project team is in close contact with the different users in the cabin – from cleaning staff and caterers to flight attendants, technicians and passengers. "To get a better understanding of their needs, we slip into each of these roles ourselves for a while. Currently, we hardly have any data available from inside the cabin. That is why our first step is to take a close look at which cabin-related information is useful enough that it makes sense to collect it automatically. This allows us to gain insights that will lead to the concrete development of new systems and services."

Aerospace engineer Sven Taubert will be at the Lufthansa Technik stand (Hall 6, Booth 6B80) at the Aircraft Interiors Expo from 4 to 6 April.