Brazilian airline becomes the first in the country to monitor ground operations with Artificial Intelligence

Brazilian airline becomes the first in the country to monitor ground operations with Artificial Intelligence

The technology is capable of measuring punctuality, quality and efficiency of ground operations in real-time, which can reduce the average time of idle aircraft. The innovation was adopted at Guarulhos Airport and was tested and developed by LATAM Labs in partnership with the software company Synaptic Aviation.

In March of this year, LATAM Airlines became the first airline company in Brazil to monitor part of its airport operations using cameras and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The company installed the technology at São Paulo/Guarulhos Airport, its largest hub, to measure the punctuality, quality and efficiency of ground operations for its aircraft in real-time.

The innovation can reduce the average time of idle aircraft and was tested and developed for 12 months by the open innovation unit of LATAM (LATAM Labs) in partnership with the software company Synaptic Aviation.

For Rafael Walker, Global Director of Customer Care at LATAM Airlines Group, the company’s innovation in Brazil represents a significant advancement in intelligent data collection for a complete operational perspective.

“With the data in hand, we achieve more operational efficiency and, consequently, a better experience for our customers, with quality and safety. It is our commitment to constantly seek ways to make your journey simpler, faster and safer,” he said.

How the new LATAM monitoring system works at Guarulhos Airport

The new LATAM monitoring system at Guarulhos Airport uses cameras and Artificial Intelligence to track all movements around its aircraft on the ground. Like a real-time X-ray, it provides operational metrics (updates of the scheduled departure times, gate usage time and connection times for the ground power unit).

It also allows for the prevention of damage from foreign objects, checks the status of the boarding/disembarking bridge (finger), and provides compliance reports that help LATAM maintain safety measures around the entire aircraft on the ground. The result is a highly safe operation in all aspects.

The AI comes into action when a LATAM aircraft approaches the boarding/disembarking gate and immediately begins to track all ground activity around it to provide a true record of the events with video clips of the most relevant moments. This is how it registers, for example, whether the aircraft is attached to the boarding/disembarking gate, when the boarding/disembarking bridge (finger) is attached to the aircraft, or even when ground resources such as air conditioning and electricity are being provided to the aircraft.

Innovation since 2020

Since November 2020, LATAM Labs has been the permanent innovation hub (open innovation) of the LATAM group to test new disruptive ideas that arise within and outside the company. The hub tests ideas from its own employees and from external ecosystems (universities, entrepreneurs, startups and knowledge hubs) in real operational environments of the company.

Currently, LATAM Labs has eight external partners. Among the ideas already tested by the hub and implemented in the company, noteworthy are the project with document validation with Artificial Intelligence, the application of neural networks and Deep Learning in the customer experience during their journey, and the development of autonomous Artificial Intelligence.

Through LATAM Labs, various areas of LATAM are in interaction with the innovation ecosystem, including airports, customer care, customer experience and products, cargo, human resources, legal, compliance, IT and flight standard. In addition, other collaborating companies in the ecosystem also visit LATAM to share best innovation practices.

In 2022, for example, LATAM became the first airline in Brazil to serve customers in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) through the Libras Interpreter Center. The innovation was developed by LATAM Labs and designed to expand the accessibility of people with hearing impairments in the service on, at the Contact Center, and at all 55 airports served by LATAM flights in Brazil.

In the same year, Inovabra (Bradesco’s innovation hub) recognized the work developed by LATAM Labs to test new disruptive ideas that arise within and outside the company.

Highlight at the main aircraft maintenance event in Latin America

LATAM was one of the highlights of MRO Latin America 2023, one of the most important aircraft maintenance events in Latin America held in Buenos Aires (Argentina) at the beginning of 2023. The company was invited to present to the participants of MRO Latin America the details of using drones in the inspection of its aircraft.

The presentation was given by Everton Amieiro, Coordinator of Operational Support at LATAM Brasil, who told the audience how the pioneering use of drones made the external inspection process of the company’s aircraft in the country up to 12 times faster than traditional inspection. In 2022, the technology began to be exported to LATAM’s operation in Chile.

The entire external inspection process by drone of Latin America is carried out on its Airbus A320 family aircraft that undergo heavy maintenance, where between 1,600 and 2,000 detailed photos of the entire fuselage, wings and empennage are collected using Artificial Intelligence to identify possible damages and necessary repairs.

The inspection method is 100% autonomous and generates even more efficiency and quality compared to the manual process. Another advantage is related to resource savings.

This is because, by keeping the records in the cloud and updated in real-time, costs with paper printing were eliminated. The use of drones also increases reliability in processes due to the standardization of inspection. The technology is the result of the partnership between LATAM and Donecle, a French company that develops the equipment.

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