Big Data: Airbus is mining the wealth of knowledge for aviation

Aircraft have always collected many different kinds of data. In today’s era of Big Data and an ever-increasing number of on-board sensors, a true wealth of knowledge is building up – and Airbus has stepped up to mine this valuable resource to further increase the sustainability of aviation.

Soaring quantities of data

On an A320 flight, around 500 parameters are currently recorded. At least. With its new analysis tool, Airbus is entering a completely new data dimension: Europe's aerospace group can now collect up to 24,000 parameters on a flight. Per flight hour, that’s 10 gigabytes of data for an A320.

Based on this data, brand new algorithms can be developed, e.g. for predictive maintenance: aircraft components which are showing signs of fatigue need to be identified as early as possible in order to avoid costly consequences. And that is exactly where digital feedback comes in.

Furthermore, maintenance events can be scheduled much more efficiently – aircraft spend even less time in the hangar, and more time in the air. And last but not least, improved fleet management means a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.


Sharing data

In collaboration with the customer, Airbus feeds the data into the digital platform, Skywise. Alongside Airbus data sources, this platform integrates data from suppliers, airlines and airports. With all the players sharing their know-how about the aircraft with one another, exciting and lucrative perspectives open up. Another possibility, based on anonymised data, is that of all-new performance comparisons, e.g. across different airlines which are using Skywise. The more data is shared, the better for all those involved. For this networked approach, Airbus is, of course, using the highest security standards.

With Skywise, the aircraft manufacturer is stepping up to further develop its role as a Big Data pioneer in aviation. Numerous airlines are already making use of the possibilities on offer – and in the future the aim is for Skywise to be used for helicopters and military aircraft too.

Status: Feb 2018

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