CSE498, Collaborative Design, Spring 2023
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

United Airlines is a major U.S. airline headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Since its founding in 1926, it has grown to be the third largest airline in the world, with routes both across the U.S. and to all inhabited continents. Due to its size, history, and ubiquity, it is a staple of the U.S. skies.

Innovating and growing as a major airline means to constantly strive for an increasingly high level of quality across a very large fleet. This requires being able to quickly identify issues so that they may be addressed promptly. However, the aforementioned fleet size makes efficient problem discovery a requisite for prompt action. As United Airlines strives to further its goals towards an ever better response, recognizing issues stands as the current bottleneck to address.

Our Aircraft Appearance Assessment Tool enables this focused and swift response by bringing problems to those who can solve them quickly within an easy-to-use web application.

Our tool uses image recognition to scan photos for actionable issues inside and outside the plane. Images are retrieved through employees manually uploading them, through emails sent to United Airlines, or through social media posts from passengers. Issues are automatically found, analyzed, and categorized from these images so engineers may fix problems as soon as they are found.

Additional sentiment analysis helps to evaluate feedback from customers obtained via Twitter posts. This sentiment data, in particular, further specifies image urgency automatically.

The web app utilizes an image recognition algorithm trained with a Convolutional Neural Networks model. The algorithm training is implemented in Python, TensorFlow, and Keras. The front end of our web app is built using ReactJS, with a Python Flask back end and MySQL database hosted on iMacs. The machine learning model is connected to the web app with TensorFlow.js.