50 years ago, Neil Armstrong was the first human to land on the moon. It was done with a computer with the power of a simple calculator and voice activated spacecraft control existed only in dreams.
Today the control panels of Spacecraft are the things of science fiction. These mirror the displays in modern aircraft, automobiles, as well as smart devices.
One thing today’s Spacecraft today can’t do that smart devices can do is use voice activated commands. Siri can use voice commands to do many functions on iPhones for hands-off operations, and airlines are starting to recognize how this function.
I have used and tested Siri on aviation’s Electronic Flight Bags at work to pull up flight documents. I can say as an accident and incident investigator the potential to make aviation safer is incredible. But so is the potential to save the airlines hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The safety, and the savings, come from two properties. They are speed and accuracy. Speed in a life or death situation is literally the difference between, well, life and death. If you have a fire onboard an aircraft the sooner you put out the fire, the less chance of damage to the vehicle, the better the chances people will survive.
Accuracy is just as important as speed. If I reduce the time to complete a procedure from 15 minutes to 7, but it is the wrong procedure, not only have I done the wrong procedure and potentially made the situation worse, but I have wasted 7 life saving minutes.
This is the power of having information that is only one step away, and there is a direct link to that one step concept and getting the correct information the first time every time. I call creating this one step process ‘reducing the Informational Footprint.’ I have done this first with e-books, and then with Interactive Posters.
Now I am looking at voice activated spacecraft control to increase efficiency and accuracy even more. My theory is that by using voice activated spacecraft control, I will be reducing the Informational Footprint by several seconds, if not minutes.
Preliminary test on commercial aviation electronic documents show that the time was reduced from 1 minute and 9 seconds with normal practices and an electronic document, to 10 seconds with activated control. In an emergency, finding the correct answer that quick could be the difference of having passengers complain about the flight and having no witnesses.
The following video show how SIRI can quickly go to a Spacecraft’s Intelligent Manual and get information. From there the user can select any component on the Intelligent Manual’s image and obtain any piece on information needed. (Notice the time of the video. This was not edited!)
So what does saving NASA one minute getting information? According to NASA’s cost projections of the International Space Station, each day costs $ 22,500* per Astronaut.
More importantly, every 10 seconds of use with means you save 59 seconds. Astronaut using voice recognition for an hour, that would 5.9 hours! That is another 5.9 hour NASA could be devoting to another experiment. In dollars, that equates to $5529.
In aviation, using Voice Activated Spacecraft Control the same savings apply. My friends at Northwestern’s Transportation Library found through DOT data that the average commercial airliner costs about $40 a minute to Operate.
If a large Airline operates 2000 flights a day and the were using the Voice Activated Spacecraft Control concept on every flight, the 59 seconds time saving would equate to $78667 save a day. Therefore, potentially they could save $28,713,330 annually.
But how can you use this technology for saving time and money? Simple, use it to make you more efficient and do things correct the first time. You can start with doing something simple, like asking for direction by ask saying “Hey SIRI.” Then once you get a response say “Take me home.”
Your iPhone will then find your quickest route home, or if you have time, the cheapest route. And now you just learned how to save time and money.
Coming up in future articles, I will try to show you how I program custom commands for SIRI.