CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2018
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

United Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines, serving over 148 million customers a year to 357 destinations in 48 countries with 4,600 daily departures.

For any airline, aircraft grounded due to mechanical issues may cause cancelled flights, loss of revenue, and dissatisfied customers. United operates the third largest fleet in the world with some 757 planes.

In order to maintain their fleet, United uses over 200,000 tools stored at various airports. Many of these tools are bundled into kits designed for very specific tasks like changing out the engine on a Boeing 787.

When a toolkit arrives at a United destination, it is crucial that the kit be complete so that technicians can address the issue and return the aircraft to service safely.

Our Toolkit Content Verification System ensures that toolkits are complete before they are checked out for use and before they are checked back in for storage. The system also logs every transaction for each toolkit.

To verify the completeness of a toolkit, a United technician simply uses their Apple iPhone or iPad to capture a photo of an opened kit as shown at the right.

Once a photo is captured and sent to our server, computer vision algorithms determine which tools are present and which are missing. On screen, our app then informs the technician whether or not the kit is complete.

Senior technicians use our companion web app to add new toolkits to the system and to track histories of kits.

Our Tooling Kit Content Verification System iOS app is written in Swift, with computer vision processing using the OpenCV library. Our web app uses the Django framework.