At last week’s Predictive Aircraft Maintenance (PAM) Conference, a panel discussion took place between Jason Cordoba, chief executive of CordobaQ, David Marty, head of digital solutions sales and marketing at Airbus, and Peter Knight, principal analytics engineer at GE Aerospace, to explore predictive maintenance from a technology perspective.
The panel discussed how predictive maintenance can leverage advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to forecast potential issues before they escalate, and that there are vast opportunities presented by technology and analytics.
Cordoba said: “There is great potential when it comes to extracting valuable insights from data-rich databases, but the challenge of dealing with data ‘noise’ within those datasets still exists.”
Knight mentioned his views on the industry’s current status, expressing satisfaction with the ongoing efforts to keep aircraft flying. However, he emphasised “there is a crucial need for faster data transfer, if data is the new oil, the industry must refine and make better use of the vast amounts of data that is available.”
The panel addressed questions around the potential battle for big data, with Knight emphasising “there are challenges surrounding data ownership, sharing, and the necessity to ensure data quality.” Marty echoed this, underlining that the battle of data comes down to industry cooperation. “We have an opportunity to truly change the technology outlook for the coming decades and keep pushing the boundaries. But we can only achieve this through better collaboration and sharing what we all learn about harnessing the power of data.”
When considering the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in aviation, the panel all recognised that there are significant possibilities. However, Marty cautioned that “addressing safety concerns and accelerating technological advancements should be prioritised.”
Questions on whether blockchain has a place in aviation was met with scepticism by Cordoba, who highlighted the need for further development and understanding.
The panellists discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on technology progress, with Cordoba suggesting that the global crisis provided the industry with an “opportunity to reset its approach to analytics”. However, Marty emphasised the difficulties posed by workforce layoffs and shortages during this period, an impact “still being felt even now.”
But Knight said the battle for digital talent was fierce and explained GE Aerospace’s strategy of bringing in interns as an effective means of “getting new talent into the industry.”
The importance of company culture in driving technology adoption was also discussed, with a general consensus that business leadership and a “top down” approach plays a pivotal role.