Innovation in aviation: The Digital Sky Challenge through the eyes of the winners
ACI EUROPE and the SESAR Joint Undertaking, with the support of key aviation partners, organised the Digital Sky Challenge on 02-04 December 2019 in Athens. Hosted by Athens International Airport, the event was Europe’s first 48-hour competition taking place at an airport premises. We spoke with the three winning teams to find out more about their experience and plans for the solutions they developed. Inês Rebelo reports.
The Digital Sky Challenge was jointly organised by ACI EUROPE, SESAR Joint Undertaking and Athens International Airport from the 2nd to the 4th of December 2019 in Athens. Its key goals were to explore innovative digital solutions to improve aviation, to strengthen engagement with key industry partners and external innovators, and to support the next wave of innovation in the industry.
It was the most stand-out moment in 2019 for everyone involved (1), from the organisers and mentors to the 12 competing teams. For the first time ever, the entire European aviation industry – airports, airlines, aviation organisations and aviation-related business partners - joined forces to make an extensive dataset available to a group of young passionate coders. The aim? Create new digital solutions for aviation, particularly focused on streamlining the passenger journey, improving the environmental performance of Europe’s airspace and enhancing safety.
(1) ACI EUROPE, SESAR JU and Athens International Airport teamed up with EUROCONTROL, IATA, EASA, CANSO, Air France, Lufthansa, SITA, Fraport, Avinor, Groupe ADP, MetSafe, Météo France, Météorage, Innaxis Research Institute, OpenSky Network, Founda.tion and BeMyApp.
Innov’ATM, winners of the Passenger Experience challenge
Innov’ATM was the winner of the Passenger Experience challenge. The team came up with an innovative app, PaxKeeper, to reduce the stress of travelling while improving airline punctuality. The app helps to track passengers with their consent, so that airlines, airports and air traffic controllers (ATC) know where they are. It also offers clear benefits which are marketable and achievable.
Eco-Travelers, winners of the Environment challenge
Eco-Travelers won the Environment challenge. The team developed a tool that allows passengers to select the best and most green mobility option, integrating multiple modes of transport. The tool took into account existing systems and carbon offsetting schemes.
JBM, winners of the Safety challenge
JBM won the Safety challenge by successfully developing from scratch a safety net capable of analysing distances between aircraft in order to alert and thus avert potential incidents.
The Digital Sky Challenge is a powerful example of how aviation is all about innovation and collaboration. There is no question that working with innovators outside the aviation industry and seeking fresh ideas help aviation to stay ahead of the curve and meet the future needs of its own business and of society in general.