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SWISS International Airlines to Use Artificial Intelligence to Count Passengers With Special Cameras Installed at the Aircraft Door

SWISS International Airlines to Use Artificial Intelligence to Count Passengers With Special Cameras Installed at the Aircraft Door

a white airplane with red text on it

SWISS International Airlines is to install a new digital boarding system on its aircraft, which will uses artificial intelligence to conduct a passenger count and make sure no stowaways have managed to sneak onboard.

The Zurich-based carrier has decided to adopt the system after a successful three-month trial conducted earlier this year. During the trial, the airline wanted to make sure that the AI model could work in various light conditions and detect a parent carrying an infant in their arms.

a woman in a suit on an airplane

Unlike some airlines that rely on automated passenger reconciliation via boarding pass scanners, cabin crew at the Swiss flag carrier are still required to conduct a manual headcount of passengers using an old-fashioned ‘clicker’.

The new system makes that process obsolete, and SWISS says it expects the boarding process to be a lot quicker as a result.

Developed by Berlin-based tech startup Vion AI, the new passenger count system works with a camera installed at the boarding door, which monitors people coming and going from the plane.

A prototype of the system was only developed earlier this year, but during the trial conducted by SWISS, the airline found that it conducted passenger boarding counts reliably under a wide range of conditions.

Further work is, however, required to develop and refine the system and the airline doesn’t expect to start installing the system across its fleet until later in 2024. Initially, the short-haul fleet will have the system fitted from the third quarter of 2024, while work to install the cameras on long-haul aircraft will begin in the final three months of 2024.

In the meantime, some aircraft will have the system installed as part of the ongoing development of the AI software but crew members will still be required to conduct manual passenger counts.

Addressing privacy concerns, SWISS says all data will be processed in full compliance with the strict European and Swiss data protection rules.

“In adopting this AI-based solution for counting our passengers during boarding, we’re taking another major step forward into the digital future,” commented Oliver Buchhofer, SWISS’s Head of Operations.

“The use of artificial intelligence will help make the boarding process faster and more efficient,” Buchhofer continued. “This in turn will reduce waiting times and give our guests a pleasanter travel experience. The new digital count will ease the workload on our cabin crews, too.”

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