Honeywell to make flying safer with tech to decode regional accents

Honeywell is developing a software that will decipher accents and automatically transcribe what’s said for air traffic controllers


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Honeywell International Inc. is developing a new software that aims to make it easier to understand pilots speaking English with strong local accents.

The move will enhance safety at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to add smaller airports to the world’s fastest-growing major market has increased the demand for pilots who could be speaking in a thick accent.

While the project is first being implemented in India, Honeywell sees scope to expand the offering to other parts of the world.

Why is this important

  • Miscommunication between air traffic controllers and pilots is a safety threat globally. A fatal 1996 crash near New Delhi, which killed 349, was primarily blamed on a language barrier, involving pilots whose first language wasn’t English. The software in development will help in avoiding such fatalities.
  • With more than 100 spoken languages and the ambition to connect even its smallest villages by air, the number of regional pilots are set to increase and with them the risk of miscommunication. Honeywell is therefore planning to first develop and test the software in India which augurs well for the nation and orrganization.

What are the implications

Successful development of the software will be doubly beneficial:

Firstly, safety will be enhanced which is becoming increasingly paramount due to rising air traffic.

Secondly, Honeywell (CMP: 18350, M.Cap 16,224 crs, P/E 64.6x FY18) to significantly benefit due to huge opportunity pie created by the expanding air connectivity in India.

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