AI start-up Aiir gets half-million investment to develop smart engine inspection software
The Mainport Innovation Fund II was initiated by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the Delft University of Technology, NS Dutch Railways and the Port of Amsterdam, in cooperation with NBI Investors. The fund focuses on accelerating innovations in logistics, aviation and transport. Since the launch of MIF I in 2019, KLM has invested in 17 start-ups, because the airline believes it is important to cooperate closely with promising start-ups, so that it can continue to set the pace in innovation.
Smart software is currently being developed for the inspection of aircraft engines. The Dutch start-up Aiir Innovations is developing a new system that makes use of artificial intelligence. The company today announced that it has obtained a half million euros in funding from the Mainport Innovation Fund II.
Engine maintenance is largely dependent on human skills. Technicians inspect every component, manually recording all damage and giving recommendations for repair. Aiir Innovations is developing software that technicians can use to detect cracks, dents and other damage during borescope inspections of aircraft engines.
See it as an assistant, giving you an extra pair of digital eyes, analysing video and images at high speed. explains. All the information is directly compiled in a digital report.
The software raises inspection productivity, allowing the technician to focus on assessing damage. The new software is a self-learning, detection system that saves maintenance teams a great deal of time.
We can already reduce borescope inspections from 16 to 12 hours, but that’s just the beginning. In four to six years’ time, we expect to be able to complete a full borescope inspection in just 20% of the time it currently takes.
Cooperation with KLM
The founders of Aiir Innovation met while completing their master’s in Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of Amsterdam. Three years ago, KLM invited them to participate in a research project seeking innovative solutions that applied artificial intelligence in conducing borescope inspections.
KLM has played an important part in the development of this new software. Over the past three years, the Aiir Innovations team have spent a lot of time collaborating with KLM engineers and technicians on the work floor. Earlier this year, KLM Engineering & Maintenance signed a contract for a further five years collaboration. As launch customer, KLM is also providing the start-up with data and contacts within its own network.
Greater work pleasure, better inspection
Our technicians are really enthusiastic about the software. Thanks to the digital reports, they spend less time on administration. This not only improves the way we document things, but also makes their work more pleasant.
KLM sets the highest possible standards for aircraft maintenance. This software will enable us to raise the standard further, thereby further improving air safety.
Aiir Innovations is also running pilot projects with maintenance companies other than KLM, elsewhere in Europe. Many more of such projects will be launched in the coming years. “We’ll be using the half million euros for further expansion abroad, which means we’ll be needing a professional sales organisation,” explains Vredebregt, whose company also intends to use the investment for product enhancement in the coming years, so that inspections can be conducted even better and faster.
Certification is another challenge we face in the coming years. We’ll need this to develop the next version of our product. Aviation laws and regulations are very strict. If we hope to implement our AI innovations far and wide, we will have to meet the highest standards.
Mainport Innovation Fund II
The Mainport Innovation Fund II was initiated by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, KLM, the Delft University of Technology, NS Dutch Railways and the Port of Amsterdam, in cooperation with NBI Investors. The fund focuses on accelerating innovations in logistics, aviation and transport.
This is a perfect example of how a major corporation like KLM can cooperate with a start-up to achieve innovation. The team consists of five highly intelligent and ambitious entrepreneurs, who have what it takes to turn this into a success. These factors all contribute to making this start-up an ideal fit for our investment fund.