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Airbus Koniku aircraft cabin (Photo: Airbus)

Airbus Moves a Step Closer Towards Technology for Safer Skies

Airbus has announced that it has made a step forward in co-developing a solution for air travel security operations.

In partnership with Koniku Inc., the European Aerospace consortium has begun researching into the capability to detect biological hazards, as well as chemical and explosive threats, on an aircraft or in an airport.

The ‘solution’, the name Airbus has awarded the idea, has advanced from its original focus on contactless and automated detection and tracking of chemicals and explosives to being adapted to include the identification of biological hazards in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

The product would work by using genetically engineered odorant receptors which would produce an alarm signal when they detect a hazard or threat through molecular compounds they have been programmed to distinguish. The product would be subject to rigorous regulatory testing to ensure it meets the requirements of aircraft and airport security operations.

Airbus and Koniku Inc. entered into an agreement in 2017 using Airbus’ experience of the ground and on-board security operations within the aerospace industries, as well as Koniku’s biotechnology know-how.

The product is due to be tested in aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2020, therefore Airbus is having to accelerate traditional research cycles, as it would in the event of a new biohazard being discovered, to develop the solution that would improve the security of air transport, increase operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience.

The use of biotechnology has been on the rise across the aviation industry in recent years. This can be seen perhaps most notably in worldwide experimentation with sustainable biofuels and campaigns to limit cabin waste. Coming to the table with the goal of making companies more eco-friendly in an industry that otherwise is inherently bad for the environment, corporations are looking to find success in a movement that is slowly engulfing aviation across the globe.

Connor Sadler
Connor Sadler
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