EasyJet Trials Artificial Intelligence-Powered Engine Inspections
UK low-cost carrier EasyJet is trialing artificial intelligence (AI) based technology to optimize its engine borescope inspections. It has partnered with Dutch startup Aiir Innovations to test its automated borescope inspection products, which are aimed at reducing the time it takes to perform and analyze these types of inspections on jet engines.
Aiir’s software uses AI techniques to detect defects, count the number of blades that have been observed and perform speed analysis on blades. Once an inspection has been completed and analyzed, multiple parties are able to view, comment on and share borescope inspection findings via Aiir’s online platform, Aiir Review. According to Aiir, its software provides full traceability that boosts confidence in the engine asset and its value among all parties to a lease or sale transaction.
“We are excited to start testing our software solution with EasyJet and are confident this trial will underline the value of AI-assisted borescope inspections to it and other major airlines,” says Bart Vredebregt, CEO, Aiir Innovations. “Aiir software means no more painstaking reviews of borescope videos and drastically less human error—just a simple, speedy process in which the AI supports the engineer at every step.”
The trial, which began in April 2021 and is scheduled to last approximately five months, will initially be used to explore improvements to leased engine transitions by smoothing the process of stakeholder alignment. EasyJet says it will also look at other ways in which the software can be used to generate savings around borescope inspections. The airline currently operates a mix of Airbus A320 family aircraft powered by CFM LEAP-1A and CFM56-5B engines.
EasyJet is not the first airline to trial Aiir’s technology. Since the startup’s launch in 2016, it has trialed the technology with KLM, KLM E&M and MTU Maintenance. According to Aiir, these case studies established that its technology reduced inspection times by approximately four hours and detected 150% more relevant findings than human inspectors. In February, MTU Maintenance Lease Services renewed and extended its cooperation with Aiir for a 12-month period.
In 2020, Aiir adapted its products to meet customer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling customers to access its AI insights online. Vredebregt says Aiir’s collaboration with EasyJet has been 100% digital thus far through its cloud-based solution, which he expects to continue for the rest of the trial.
In recent months, Vredebregt says the startup has further improved its AI detection rates. He notes that EASA recently released its first guidance for the use of safety-related machine learning applications, which will help Aiir more clearly determine how AI will fit into the regulatory framework in the future.