The Etihad Aviation Group is celebrating Etihad Innovation Week, showcasing the future of air travel during its participation in UAE Innovation Week.
The airline is displaying a world where guests’ names are known before they approach check-in, favourite movies are cued up and ready prior to boarding, and personalised travel itineraries are generated automatically, all supported by the latest technology, including IBM Watson.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, visited Etihad Innovation Week at the Etihad Innovation Centre, where they were shown the future of air travel and how the power of technology can enhance the guest experience.
Sheikh Nahyan praised Etihad Aviation Group for its innovation strategy and for encouraging young people to embrace technology.
Visitors to the Innovation Centre this week can meet 'Pepper, the humanoid robot', designed with the ability to read emotions and adapt its behaviour accordingly, while "Chef Watson" is creating original recipes for guests by cognitively analysing flavours and ingredients.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Etihad Aviation Group, said, "We operate in a highly competitive environment and in order to meet our guests expectations and deliver optimised efficiencies, an aggressive approach to technology and innovation is a necessity - not an option."
Last year, Etihad Airways signed a US$700 million strategic partnership with IBM to transform the airline’s global technology operations with cloud, analytics, mobile, security and cognitive technologies.
Etihad Innovation Week also features a Hackathon where university students compete by using IBM Watson’s cognitive technology to produce solutions for the travel industry. The three-day challenge, involving students from universities in Abu Dhabi, is being hosted with Cognit, a joint venture between Mubadala and IBM Watson.
Following the tour, Noura Al Kaabi commented, "I have enjoyed my visit to Etihad Innovation Week as part of the country-wide celebrations, to see and hear the latest news on how the company is incorporating technology and innovative practices to the benefit of the customer, the economy and the wider travel and tourism industry. I was also delighted to see the participation of university students in the activities."
UAE Innovation Week, running until 26th November, is one of the largest innovation initiatives in the world and aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as a global innovation hub.