Boeing and SparkCognition want to bring air travel and package delivery into the future.

Aviation giant Boeing announced a partnership with artificial intelligence (AI) company SparkCognition on July 17 to develop solutions for tracking unmanned aircraft.

According to the release, the two entities will utilize AI and blockchain technology to track “autonomous air vehicles” while in flight, as well as assign safe and secure flight paths for the transportation of both products and people.

Boeing HorizonX, the venture capital arm of Boeing, previously invested in SparkCognition to support its work in the “development of a cognitive, data-driven analytics platform for the safety, security and reliability of data technology.”

The collaboration is in connection with Boeing’s newly-established Boeing NeXt, which will utilize the company’s experience in the fields of autonomous flight and advanced propulsion. The announcement also states that Boeing and SparkCognition are interested in “emerging fields, including AI and hybrid and fully electric propulsion, that will help ensure safe, efficient flight.”

Boeing NeXt’s portfolio will include descriptions of a previously unreleased passenger-carrying hypersonic concept as well as descriptions of air vehicles that are capable of taking off and landing vertically.

The collaboration may produce a framework for standards of interface programming that will support industrial inspection and the delivery of packages, among other commercial applications.

Amir Husain, founder and CEO of SparkCognition, voiced his excitement:

“Estimated by some analysts at $3 trillion, the urban aerial mobility opportunity will lead to the creation of the largest new market in our lifetimes. The world’s number one aviation leader partnering with the world’s most innovative industrial AI company means that unparalleled experience in safety, innovation, scale, and reliability will be brought to bear to address this monumental opportunity.”

 

Many companies and government leaders clearly think blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the travel and logistics industry. In November 2017, shipping giant UPS joined the Blockchain In Transport Alliance to increase the efficacy of its supply chain and offer better customer service. In January of this year, the governments of Canada and the Netherlands announced they were examining blockchain solutions to establish a low-risk verification process for airline passengers. And in May, ETHNews interviewed the chair of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies about how his company intends to utilize blockchain technology to create a “frictionless” transportation system.