An AI that ‘hears’ machine failure might soon be applied in roller coasters


How one theme park is looking at AI to prevent downtime

How do we know the things we use daily need maintenance? In many cases, we only take corrective measures when a malfunction happens. For some businesses, sporadic maintenance inspection is a common occurrence; however, these are sometimes as scheduled downtime is a requirement to carry out the maintenance.

And what about equipment that are used on a larger scale? Such as amusement park rides?

One such theme park, Efteling, based in the Netherlands, is working to provide a solution to prevent downtime. In 2017, the park welcomed 5.18 million visitors. However, just like any other theme or amusement park, it also experiences ride downtime. To find a solution to the problem, Efteling is participating in a specially designed challenge planned by Vodafone and The Next Web, which links 10 recognized companies to startups to resolve a problem using IoT solutions.

The theme park has an existing widespread maintenance scheme and engineering crews on-the-ground to fix issues. Yet, the growth of Efteling is showing that this is no longer cost-effective. Additionally, predicting or preventing unexpected issues is not always possible.

Speaking in an interview, Jonas Rietbergen, Efteling’s strategist in charge of the innovation program said the main concern with ride downtime is satisfaction of the guests. He says that customers get disappointed whenever there is unexpected ride downtime, especially when no prior warning is given.

The objective of Efteling is to ascertain 95-100% ride uptime, but, for this to succeed, extensive checks and maintenance is required. To reduce the impact of downtime on guest experience, the amusement park undertakes inspections before opening the park, when it is closed, and during particular days when the rides are under manufacture.

Using AI to identify rides malfunctioning

This utilizes Noiseless Acoustics technology. The problem does not have to be identified by the human ear, although it should be quantifiable. Noiseless Acoustics utilize a mixture of analytics, software, and hardware to listen to sound. They use several tools such as NL Sense, which is a sensor and compact wireless hub to locate the problem, and an NL Camera for locating heat images to signal noise on the screen.

Embracing IoT technologies

Implementation of this technology will however, require some tweaking. It will include removal of background noise to tune it to the acoustic profile of an amusement park, to examine and validate the problem.

After the problem is identified through AI technology, it will require an amusement park maintenance technician to fix the problem. The best technician is one who has undergone training at ITI College. Visit to learn more about the programs offered by our institution.

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