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Digital Transformation Trends That Will Change the Aerospace Industry

Apr 25, 2023

The rapid pace of change in the aerospace industry is largely fueled by digital transformation. Many of the current key digital transformation trends are improving workflow, training, and the way data analytics are used.
Digital Transformation Aerospace

Digital Transformation Trends Changing the Aerospace Industry

Augmented Reality-Enhanced Work Instruction

Today’s aerospace leaders are finding many ways to enhance their training using augmented reality. Easily consumable experiences are bringing new team members up to speed with onboarding and additional training. AR-enhanced work instruction is improving technician competency with safety gains at a lower cost. Seasoned colleagues are able to provide remote assistance, allowing them to work together to make servicing complex problems more efficient.

Ground handlers are performing aircraft inspections using AR headsets, enabling them to have realistic learning opportunities. They’re identifying risks and learning the aircraft without the physical aircraft being nearby. This is resulting in improved technician proficiency and rapid troubleshooting.

Data Analytics Software

Analytics software is perhaps less exciting than AR, but it’s an essential space for digital transformation in the industry. Analytics tools are being used for predictive modeling. They’re taking massive amounts of data collected from sensors and using sophisticated tools to identify patterns. This information is being used to gain valuable insights and inform decision-making for fuel efficiency, purchasing decisions, and maintenance schedules.

Today, many in the aerospace industry rely on their data being used for predictive modeling. The digital transformation happening using advanced analytics software doesn’t offer innovative demonstrations but is a vital tech enabler changing the industry.


Industry 4.0 won’t be possible without improved sensors fueling data collection. They’re monitoring hardware and recording data at every step of the way. One of the major improvements in recent years is in sizing and resiliency. With smaller sensors fitting into tight spaces, things like temperature issues are noticed in ways like never before.

The improved sensors and data collection are enabling improved data analytics. The information is then used to influence changes in manufacturing and decision-making. This is one more way where it’s evident that digital transformation today is about multiple technologies working together toward common goals.

Cloud-Based Servers

Cloud computing has been playing an increasingly important role in the industry for a while now. Its impact will continue to grow, especially as augmented reality and the sharing of data analytics become increasingly important. AR devices heavily rely on their ability to pull images from cloud-based servers. Meanwhile, aerospace companies collect significant amounts of data from sensors and other devices.

Leveraging cloud-based servers allows for seamless operations and collaborations, so many teams are working in different locations. At the same time, they need to minimize cybersecurity risks while improving productivity. These factors are heavily influencing the shift toward cloud-based servers industry-wide.

Machine Learning

In the future, it seems increasingly unlikely that a human being will be actively operating the controls of every robot. Machine learning algorithms are going to continue to change the game, especially in aerospace and defense. These algorithms can diagnose a mechanical problem early on before it becomes a serious issue. They can then take the information they’ve learned and make meaningful improvements.

This doesn’t mean humans will need to be replaced. It means that machine learning can take on many repetitive tasks, allowing humans to focus on more innovative work. In such a data-heavy industry, machine learning will inevitably be used to improve manufacturing and services.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is currently transforming many industries and aerospace is no exception. Moving forward, we can expect more innovative applications like predictive analytics being used to optimize flight paths for fuel efficiency. We can also expect artificial intelligence to influence the supply chain, analytics, predictive modeling, and client management.

3D Printing

Supply chain disruptions have been a major global issue in recent years. This has fueled a greater push toward 3D printing to resolve production issues for complex parts. Aerospace companies are reducing production times and costs using this technology.

Advances in design software and artificial intelligence are making choosing the right materials and construction much easier. Much of this software can do this with budget and timeline constraints in mind. We can expect that in the years to come, advancements will make the use of 3D printing in aerospace even more complex. We expect to see advanced construction techniques, materials, and AI-powered designs.


How much of the supply process can be automated? This question is pushing many of the technology trends forward. Improved data analytics, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing are all enablers for supply chain automation.

Artificial intelligence can predict supplies that will be needed and make decisions on the best ways to provide them. The daily strain of handling the logistics of making business happen will largely be automated, and probably sooner than we think.


Currently, data on the life of an aircraft is typically spread across multiple programs. It’s hard to know all the parts that were installed, when, and who repaired the craft last. Blockchain technology can potentially be used to track and secure these transactions. It can improve efficiency and reduce costs by reducing the amount of time spent on maintenance.

It can also improve the tracking of aerospace parts. Blockchain could be used to learn the real history of a part, tracking its serial number with real-time ownership records. The use of blockchain in aerospace is still early-on. However, a trend toward taking advantage of the efficiency and security it offers is emerging.

There is no other industry quite as complex and competitive as aerospace. This field embraces technological change and its companies lead the way in digital transformation innovation. As your company transforms into a digital enterprise, you need thoughtful analysis of how current technology works with your existing processes. Contact SAAB RDS today for help from our experts on creating a digital transformation plan that works for you.