The move to the connected cabin continues, with Recaro installing what they describe as a “connected seat” aboard a TAP Air Portugal Airbus A321
The first TAP Airbus A321 with the Recaro Connected seat – from left to right -Ricardo Gaspar (TAP/Fleet Engineer), Rui Santos (TAP/Cabin Engineer), Caetano Almeida (TAP/Fleet Engineer – Narrow Body coordinator), Anthony Medaglia (RECARO/Project Manager Customer Support), Violina Mikova (RECARO/Innovation Manager), André Simões (TAP/Fleet Manager), Eduardo Sanz Garcia (TAP/ Fleet Manager)
The BL3530 seat has been fitted out with numerous sensors to gather data on seat performance and generic behavior during flight. As part of a pilot project, it is the first ever economy class seat to be designed, certified and installed as an ‘intelligent seat’.
Recaro BL3530 – Image, Economy Class and Beyond.
Recaro has been showing off the iSeat concept for some years at trade shows and as part of the Airbus SkyWise connected cabin.
The BL3530 seat has been fitted with sensors to document actions such as if the seat is occupied, how many times a passenger uses the tray table, raises the armrests, reclines the seat, and whether their seatbelt is fastened.
Data retrieval will take place every two months, and the collected data will be analysed for future investigations, such as tracking passenger preferences and maintenance.
The trial will run over six months, gathering data for airlines as Recaro develops its connected cabin strategy.
Dr Hiller, Chief Executive Officer and Shareholder of Recaro Aircraft Seating said
“This is a momentous innovation in the aviation connectivity history and a great achievement for the entire team, who made this project a success”,
“As a solution provider first and foremost, we aim to develop inventive, premium products that will revolutionize the future of aircraft seats.”
Nuno Leal, TAP Air Portugal Head of Fleet Planning & Contracts said.
“TAP Air Portugal is very excited to have been chosen by Recaro as a partner airline to pioneer the investigation of passenger’s comfort during their flights. TAP has been investing throughout the recent years in developing an in-flight product aligned with the brand and consistent on the entire fleet. This product improvement process has been one the pillars of all TAP’s recent transformation. TAP has today a cabin that was specifically designed to match TAP’s identity and to provide the best in-flight experience to our passengers. Recaro is a strategic partner on this transformation process and the “iSeat” will provide further data regarding the passengers’ needs and behaviors that will help TAP Air Portugal and Recaro in the development of new generations of seats to further enhance the comfort and safety standards“, said
Putting data into action
Recaro and TAP Air Portugal have had a longstanding relationship, with them launching various seats and working together on fitting out aircraft (such as the A330-900neo and their new A320/A321 aircraft).
It seems that iSeat which in concept is a wonderful idea from both a cabin crew perspective (understanding what seats are in Take-Off/Landing Position) and from a maintenance perspective (how many times an item installed a seat has been used, when does a part need to be replaced).
As we move towards the connected cabin idea where big data can be used to guide decisions both on and off the aircraft, there needs to be some sort of baseline to understand what the data is, and what that data is describing.
It’ll be interesting to see what data comes out, and the resultant dataset – as well as some of the innovations that come from this data.
The author would like to thank Recaro for access to their stand at Aircraft Interiors Expo for access to shoot some of this content.
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