Fuelling the future: how we helped Air bp build award-winning ground crew experiences

B2C - Brand Strategy
Innovation

Somo and Air bp have a proud history of collaboration. We’ve enjoyed working with them on many projects, including an augmented reality app for their learning centre which led them to describe us as the best digital agency they’d worked with in 25 years. We, in turn, appreciate their innovative approach to energy and their willingness to embrace new technologies to pursue that.

We were very intrigued, then, to be approached by them with a technical challenge in 2015: could we use computer vision to help ground crew refuel light aircraft, by scanning fuel decals that identify the correct fuel to use?

For context, though turbines have been the dominant power plant for airliners since the 1950s, light aircraft may also use piston engines, and these use different kinds of fuel; using the wrong one (though extremely rare) can be catastrophic.

This was an exciting challenge, with an opportunity to do some real good; we duly built a prototype, handed this over to Air bp – along with extensive notes to allow them to progress to full self-sufficiency and take this product forward – and celebrated a job well done.

That was five years ago. Since then,  Air bp has grown this prototype into an application that is used at 169 airports in 19 countries on four continents, fuelling upwards of 800–1000 aircraft a day. This impressive success not only won bp’s superlatively prestigious helios safety award last year, but was just declared overall winner in the Real IT Awards, including awards for “Excellence in Application Modernisation” and “Product Innovation”. 

We thought this would be a very good time to remember exactly how we came to build this prototype, the challenges on the way, and how we met them – and put Air bp on the road to making an excellent safety record into, we hope, a flawless one.
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Somo and Air bp have a proud history of collaboration. Back in 2015, they approached us with a technical challenge: could we use computer vision to help ground crew refuel light aircraft?

We were intrigued.

We built a prototype, handed this over to Air bp – along with extensive notes to allow them to progress to full self-sufficiency and take this product forward – and celebrated a job well done.

Now, five years later, the project is still winning awards. In this newest blog, we share how we tackled the challenge: https://www.somoglobal.com/blog/fuelling-the-future-how-we-helped-air-bp-build-award-winning-ground-crew