Google recently made an announcement that it would be updating its Google Flights service with an AI/Machine Learning program to predict flight delays with greater accuracy.
The company announced the update in one of its recent blog posts, wherein it mentioned that the application would use a flight’s historical data to make predictions about a possible delay. The predictions would likely be published even before the carrier can confirm the delay.
However, the possible delay would be highlighted only if the system is 80% sure. Google is still not claiming complete accuracy and insists that passengers avoid depending on the service entirely.
Machine learning algorithms are used to analyse data in order to identify patterns. Once the system analyses the data and identifies certain patterns, it then leverages the right algorithms to make the predictions. In this context, the machine learning program would just have to use the updated dataset to make predictions.
Other than that, the algorithm will look at factors such as weather and location to increase the accuracy of its predictions.
A Truly Viable Solution
Though Google’s instructions about not completely trusting its Flights program may sound contradictory, the truth is that machine learning is still evolving. But, even now, they are quite capable, making them very useful in several industries.
Researchers from Harvard and Carnegie Mellon have already managed to build a prototype that is capable of identifying patients with suicidal tendencies. Similarly, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory developed a computer that was capable of aiding doctors in identifying high-risk breast lesions.
In fact, AI/Machine Learning systems are becoming so effective that the debate over people losing their jobs to AI has gained even more attention now.
How Google Flights Works
Once a fairly accurate (80%) prediction has been made, the service will alert you to the delay via notifications. Another interesting thing is that the reasons for the delay are also provided. Google Flights has always been found to be very useful among flyers. Now, with machine learning, it is being pushed to become a leader in the niche.
One interesting feature that Google has added to flights is the ability to determine what airlines are referring to when using certain class categorizations such as “basic economy”.
There is another feature aimed at low-cost flyers to help them access specific details about basic economy fair tickets.
Many feel that it would be quite interesting to see the effect of such AI-based applications, especially in the air travel industry. Algorithms already play a great role in influencing people and businesses alike.
Google Flights can simply be accessed by searching for flights on the internet or going directly to the company website.
One more important point to note here is that this is not the first time Google Flights is highlighting delays. However, what separates the new idea from the old one is that, now, it can predict the delay and also, point out the cause.