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Intelligent Aerospace: How is AI used in Aerospace and Defense?

Intelligent aerospace is a quickly growing trend among aerospace and defense companies who are implementing and relying on new, smarter technologies to collect more data and use it in more effective ways.  

Read on to learn more about some core elements of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it’s being used to improve processes across the board in aerospace and defense. 

What is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning? 

AI and machine learning are elements of smart technology that bring programmable intelligence into certain processes to streamline and optimize those that used to be manually done by humans. This increases the speed at which they’re done, as well as overall efficiency and accuracy. 

Related: Common Challenges and Solutions in Aerospace Supply Chain Management 

Using this kind of technology, aerospace and defense companies can improve their processes in multiple ways and become more connected and data-driven organization-wide. 

elements of ai in aerospace and defense

How Artificial Intelligence is Applied in Aerospace and Defense 

AI, machine learning, and other intelligent aerospace technologies are used every day by companies in numerous unique ways from improving safety to increasing productivity and visibility throughout an entire operation.  

Here are some of the most common and impactful ways AI is being used in aerospace and defense. 

1. Preventative Maintenance 

With more in-depth data tracking, AI can be used in aerospace and defense to track, schedule, and manage maintenance that orders parts and schedules repairs before they are needed. AI systems track historical data on part use, breakdowns, wear and tear, and more to accurately predict when a part needs to be replaced and when to order those parts.

Related: The Benefits of Smart Manufacturing 

This preventative maintenance helps businesses become more proactive when it comes to tracking part performance and significantly reduces downtime by ensuring spare parts and repairs are ordered or scheduled ahead of time. As-needed repairs can see aircraft or machines spend days, weeks, or months down for repairs, cutting into their productivity and throwing a wrench into entire organizations. 

2. Fuel Efficiency in Flight and Design 

Aerospace companies are using AI to improve fuel efficiency by using recorded data to optimize fuel consumption during the most taxing parts of a flight and can even build custom profiles based on pilots, aircraft, location, weather, and more. 

AI is also used in the building of new aircraft parts to continue to improve designs that are more aerodynamic and lighter weight to help fuel efficiency from an engineering standpoint. 

3. Improved Customer Experience 

Often overlooked is AI’s ability to help on the customer-facing side of aerospace and defense. Customer satisfaction is always a high priority for businesses, especially in critical industries like aviation and defense. AI can be used to converse with customers, discover their pain points, and deliver solutions by contacting the right people or administering the right forms, all without a human having to lift a finger. 

Chatbots, phone trees, automated emails, and automated ticketing, can all be used to provide customers with streamlined, 24/7 service. 

4. Training 

AI is consistently used in training programs for pilots and engineers by providing simulated situations and environments that recreate the real thing in a digital way.  

Using VR, AR, and other visual technologies, companies can use AI to train and collect data that improves their workforce without risking costly mistakes. 

5. Factory Automation and Operational Efficiency 

An inefficient supply chain and factory floor can cause numerous production headaches for aerospace and defense manufacturers. This causes delays, increases costs, reduces productivity, and harms customer service.  

With so many parts needed, getting what you need when you need it can be extremely difficult without implementing automation, AI, and machine learning into your processes to take back some control over your ordering and organize your operations.  

Related: How Big Data is Changing the Aerospace Industry 

Automation and AI are key to optimizing supply chain and factory processes because they remove what is often the main cause of hiccups: manual, human processes. Using AI in place of human labor removes the chances of errors in data and improves the overall speed and efficiency of the process.  

Automation and AI alone won’t always cut it. Businesses need to build a solid foundation of connected technology to collect and analyze data to feed into their AI systems so those systems can make better decisions based on factual data.  

Bringing automation, AI, and machine learning into your supply chain and factory equations can greatly increase the overall effectiveness of your operations. 

In Conclusion 

AI is a powerful tool that should be used by companies in all industries, especially technical, complicated ones like aerospace and defense. 

Learn more about the applications of AI, smart technology, and big data in aerospace at our Resource Center.