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Lufthansa Technik launches digitalisation of aircraft cabins

New "Cabin 4.0" project relies on modern sensor technology - greater ease and comfort for both passengers and crew

Lufthansa Technik is launching the “Cabin 4.0” project to streamline procedures in the aircraft cabin for passengers and flight crews and offer more comfort, a press release said Thursday (March 30). In future, state-of-the-art sensors that rely on intelligent automation will perform tasks done manually hitherto leading to greater digitalisation. Until now, digitalisation has had minimal impact on procedures inside an aircraft cabin in contrast to e.g. cars in which a sensor verifies that the trunk is closed properly. However, crew aboard an aircraft still have to check baggage compartments.

Commenting on the goals of the project, Sven Taubert, Corporate Innovation Manager at Lufthansa Technik, said: “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. This increases passenger comfort and, at the same time, relieves the on-board WLAN networks.”

Development work in ZAL TechCenter

Funded by 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 led by Taubert. In terms of other possible uses, the project team will maintain close contact with diverse users in the cabin – from cleaning staff and caterers to flight attendants, technicians and passengers. Taubert explained: “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.”

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