Etihad Airways has partnered with Singapore food technology startup Lumitics to trial the use of computer vision and machine learning in order to reduce inflight food wastage.

The initiative will track unconsumed meals in economy class, with the data used to highlight food consumption and wastage patterns across Etihad’s network.

The carrier said that analysis of the results will help it to reduce food waste, improve meal planning and reduce operating costs.

The trial will leverage Lumitic’s Insight Lite product, which will track unconsumed meals when an aircraft touches down at an airport. The technology uses AI and image recognition to “differentiate and identify the types and quantity of unconsumed meals based on the design of the meal foils, without requiring manual intervention”.

Commenting on the news Mohammad Al Bulooki, chief operating officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said:

“Etihad Airways started the pilot with Lumitics earlier this year before global flying was impacted by Covid-19, and as the airline scales up the flight operations again, it is exciting to restart the project and continue the work that had begun.

“Etihad remains committed to driving innovation and sustainability through all aspects of the airline’s operations, and we believe that this project will have the potential to support the drive to reduce food wastage and, at the same time, improve guest experience by enabling Etihad to plan inflight catering in a more relevant, effective and efficient way.”

Earlier this year Etihad also launched an “ecoDemonstrator programme” in partnership with Boeing, using a B787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce aircraft emissions and noise.

Boeing and Etihad launch first eco-Demonstrator programme using 787-10 Dreamliner