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Airbus is testing a new system for capturing data on everything, from bathroom breaks to beer preferences

Image Airbus

Your flight may soon keep track of everything you want snacks during the flight during your bathroom trips.

Airbus announced this week that testing of a new system has begun to more closely monitor flight experience – including toilet breaks and passenger preferences. a This process will help optimize the flight crew service and provide travelers with a "more personalized travel experience". With the so-called Airspace Connected Experience, passengers can remotely order food and drinks, for example, set preferred seating positions and, among other things, watch customized entertainment and advertising during the flight.

Gathering data about everything from what passengers prefer to what they want to buy or see during the flight creates tremendous revenue opportunities for airlines. The digitization of the flight experience should also improve efficiency, reduce costs and provide a wealth of data on flight operations.

Among the outstanding features of the location system is the monitoring of whether the seat belt of a passenger is created – a task that is traditionally performed by human flight attendants – with green or red signals, so Bloomberg bis the time a passenger spends in the toilet. A spokesman for Airbus told Gizmodo by email that the harness sensor system will allow the flight crew to notify an unbelted passenger or to prevent a sleeping passenger whose harness is already in place being disturbed also tests camera systems outside toilets to keep passengers in check and avoid raids. A spokesperson told E-mail by Gizmodo that this system "will help airlines provide their passengers with the right amount of facilities / amenities they need on board, especially by knowing peak demand. The sensors could also alert the cabin crew if someone was locked up inside the toilet for a very long time – he may be ill or need help.

The Airbus representative said that the toilet cameras, for example, had the task of keeping track of how many people were in line and at what time and how fast the snake slipped through. However, the company did not answer further questions about how this blur system would work. Instead, reference was made to a image of the platform, which was published by Condé Nast Traveler and shows fuzzy faces that pose more questions than answer.

In a press release dated April Airbus stated that, in addition to the data on passengers being provided to the flight crew, "consolidated information for future transmission to the Skywise cloud is also planned trend analysis. "(Skywise is the open data platform developed by Airbus .) In addition, Airbus claimed in this week's publication that passengers would receive tailor-made experiences" specifically tailored to their individual needs and preferences based on the available Data "and" A Customized Inflight [in-flight entertainment] Quote ".

However, when the Airbus spokesman came to a comment on what information could be stored, he told Gizmodo in a response regarding seat belt sensors and toilet pursuit that "in all these cases, however, do not track a passenger" and theirs Do not store identity or personal information ". Asked if the system would pursue things like "dying", like preferences or entertainment and advertising, the spokesperson replied, "No. Skywise is used to analyze device trends and reliability. No passengers are being tracked.

When asked whether Airbus would monetize the data collected, the speaker gave a somewhat confusing answer:

Regarding the "monetization" of the data, the answer is "No".

Knowing what's cooking in the kitchen Oven, or guessing how many passengers are outside a toilet, is something that could or could be monetized. Rather, it provides airlines with a more efficient service and ensures that passengers have everything they need, from providing the right meals to enough on-board loos, especially at peak times.

Great! Could be. But as far as the implication that flight data can not be monetized, that's just not true. There is every reason to believe that the activities of passengers on a flight could provide monetizable data that is relevant to other airlines, aircraft manufacturers, credit card companies and God knows who else is.

AirBus said that the terms of service that passengers would sign before flying in a system-equipped aircraft would be handled by each airline after the tests are completed. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine what rights you are granting before this system has found its way to a diffuse group of airlines with slightly different agreements buried on countless sites.

Let's summarize here again: The Airbus The system tracks numerous activities that passengers take during a flight (and this list of activities may certainly increase), but according to Airbus, no passengers are "tracked", as I repeat Clear communication makes you feel at ease as you board a plane that weighs hundreds of tons and flies hundreds of miles through the sky. Then you are welcome on board. We hope you enjoy flying into the friendly sky of data future, and everything works better than it used to when we thought it would not be a big deal to let the dumb social networks collect a lot of data.

Airbus claimed to test the system on board its A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. Bloomberg further reported that the company "plans to introduce it into the A321 family in 2021, two years later in the larger two-speed A350 series."

Keeping track of whether all seat belts are buckled before take-off and tracking which toilets need to be refilled in advance will undoubtedly increase the efficiency of the flight crew. At the same time, however, the Connected Experience raises many privacy issues without a clearer idea of ​​how this data is used. Questions like: Do we really want to hand over bucket of personal data each time we fly? Is that really necessary? Is biometric screening not enough?

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