French aircraft manufacturer Airbus has outlined its plans to incorporate Watson IoT technologies into aircraft and operations.

Speaking at the grand opening of IBM’s Watson IoT headquarters in Munich, Airbus senior vice president and head of business unit services Laurent Martinez said the future of aviation was in data.

“We have 400,000 data parameters on our new A350, compared with only 20,000 parameters on our older A320,” he said.

“The new generation of aircraft is giving us a new generation in terms of understanding how our aircraft is behaving, in the order of 250GB of data collected per flight on an A350.”

Martinez detailed three main avenues in digital operations, including the way passengers are moved between gate A and gate B, passengers' in-flight experience, and aircraft operations and maintenance.

“We are leveraging Watson’s capabilities to create a platform known as ‘Smarter Fleet’,” he said.

“We are putting to market a number of cognitive applications around fuel efficiency, maintenance capabilities, and around operational optimisation of the aircraft.

“We currently have 200 airlines operating these Smarter Fleet solutions, and our ambition is to evolve that and develop into a leader in this market.”

Martinez said that he is confident that these initiatives will allow Airbus to achieve its ‘digital aviation’ vision for the future, which incorporates accessible, sustainable and consistent data with integrated fleet performance and fuel efficiency solutions.

“Time to market is a critical element, and cutting edge technologies, secure solutions, and safe and sustainable systems will be of paramount importance to make [our vision] happen,” he concluded.