Airline develops AI tool to deal with weather disruptions

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US airline Delta Air Lines is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that will help its crews and passengers deal with the impact of extreme weather.

The machine-learning platform, the first of its kind within the aviation industry, was announced by Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian during a keynote speech at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier this month.

Bastian did not provide a specific product name for the technology but said it was a proprietary tool focused on helping passengers and flight crews overcome weather occurrences that impact the routes they fly.

“We’ve cancelled cancellations, but we still have to deal with weather variables like hurricanes or a nasty Nor’easter, and that’s why the team in our operations and customer center is developing the industry’s first machine-learning platform to help ensure a smooth operation even in extreme conditions,” Bastian told the show. “The system uses operational data to run scenarios and project future outcomes while simulating all the variables of running a global airline with more than 1,000 planes in the sky.”

The airline said the tool – expected to be launched in the spring – is capable of creating hypothetical outcomes for decision making that occurs when large-scale disruptions caused by weather are predicted.

The technology won’t be the first proprietary weather-related application the company has developed. Delta has also developed a flight weather viewer tablet application that relies on algorithms developed by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to give pilots a three-dimensional view of their flight path to help them predict turbulence.

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