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AI in Aerospace

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Aerospace: A New Era of Innovation

In an exclusive interview with Edwin Poldermans, Site Director and Director of Operations at Fokker Techniek B.V. in Woensdrecht, the significant role of artificial intelligence (AI) within the aviation industry is highlighted. With a wealth of experience, Poldermans shares his insights into the current applications and promising future of AI within Fokker and the overal aviation industry.

As a pioneer in aircraft maintenance and transformation, Fokker Techniek has always been devoted to innovation and efficiency improvements. Poldermans points to recent developments where AI is being used to streamline and optimize the maintenance process. A promising initiative is a challenge, in collaboration with leading institutes and the Brabant Development Company. Poldermans elaborates: “We have issued a challenge, aiming to assist mechanics with smart glasses, so they can receive real-time support in their tasks. This will not only increase efficiency but also enhance accuracy.” This way, other Fokker locations, situated in America, Singapore, Hoofddorp, and Schiphol, can provide assistance in the work at Woensdrecht.

“In the near future, I envision mechanics receiving a tablet upon arrival with detailed instructions for their tasks,” describes Poldermans, “and necessary materials and tools being prepared automatically and even ordered when new materials and tools are needed.” Poldermans adds, “I actually want to have a CT scan to show how the aircraft looks inside and out, so I can put an aircraft through it when it gets brought in.” He strongly believes in the power of digitalization to streamline and optimize operational processes.

While exploring the benefits of AI, Poldermans emphasizes the potential not only to save time but also to improve the safety and reliability of aircraft. “With AI, we can detect potential defects before they become a problem,” he says, pointing to advanced inspection methods becoming the norm in the industry. 

However, there are challenges in implementing AI, Poldermans explains: “We not only need permission from regulatory authorities but also need to involve our entire organization in this transformation.” He also recognizes the need to involve both young and experienced employees in this technological shift.

The conversation with Poldermans sheds clear light on the role of AI in the aviation industry and emphasizes the necessity of continuous innovation to keep up in this rapidly changing industry. With a commitment to progress, Fokker Techniek remains a driving force behind the evolution of aviation maintenance and operations through artificial intelligence.