Virgin Atlantic is introducing innovative training technology – as part of an innovation collaboration with SITA – that allows the airline’s cabin crew to use AR to familiarise themselves with new aircraft.

Using an iOS app (but not Android, sadly), cabin crew use AR to walk through the layout of Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, without taking a peek in real life.

According to the release, it complements the existing classroom-based training, the app allows crew members to see the cabin projected as a portal in front of them and are able ‘walk into’ the cabin. The AR app simulates the full-size view of the interior cabin, giving crew a feel for their new working environment, including accurate spatial awareness. This allows the airline to train crew on new aircraft in a fun and engaging way from the airline’s headquarters in Crawley, London.

Don Langford, CIO of Virgin Atlantic, said: “Today innovation is the lifeblood of a modern airline. New technologies such as augmented reality hold out the promise to better manage our airline operations while providing an enriched experience to our increasingly tech-savvy passengers. SITA has long been a partner in exploring the frontiers of technology and this AR application is no exception.”

Gustavo Pina, Head of SITA Lab, said: “SITA Lab has identified augmented reality as one of the emerging technologies that will benefit the air transport in the years to come. Working with pioneering airlines such as Virgin Atlantic makes it possible for SITA Lab to really explore the potential of augmented reality and evaluate its business benefits. This project is a vital step in that journey of exploration.”

I am a massive fan of using AR or VR for training of any sort, as it is the most direct way of the technology impacting the development of others. Cabin crews were not the first thing to come to mind, but it would be interesting to see how it develops further.

Tom Ffiske
Twitter: @TomFfiske
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