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Power & Motion Feature Stories

Wireless Passenger Device Charging May Come Soon to an Aircraft Seat Near You

Providing airline passengers with power at their seats is one of the most in-demand aircraft features, with most travelers expecting it today. Walk down any aisle, and you’ll see row after row of plugged-in passengers using wi-fi or consuming inflight entertainment.

Now, companies like Astronics are pushing that technology forward with the introduction of wireless charging modules (WCMs) that can be embedded in airplane seats, tray tables, armrests, or other aircraft fixtures. Research shows that over 1 billion wireless charging-enabled consumer devices will enter the consumer electronics market by 2020. In fact, more than 70 models of smartphones are now Qi wireless charging enabled. Astronics anticipates that these new devices will feed the demand for wireless charging wherever people are, aircraft included.

From Astronics’ point of view, Mike Hettich, Vice President of Cabin Electronics at Astronics AES, explains it: “As airline passengers carry these devices on board, wireless charging will be an expected amenity. Providing passengers with this cable-free convenience will create a positive experience and help airlines cultivate a loyal customer base. Astronics envisions the WCM as an additional method of charging PEDs along with the existing EmPower® products. It’s one more convenient option for airlines to consider when making decisions to support their passengers’ power requests.”

Optimized for aircraft, these new modules provide safe, fast, wireless charging for devices, such as smartphones. The WCM easily integrates into the cabin environment with placement options in passenger seats, furniture or galleys. Sometimes wireless charging can be slow, so Astronics created this new module with the industry-leading output of up to 15W, to be sure to supports quick charging devices.

And the best part? If you’ve ever tried to make sure your device was EXACTLY ON the charging spot to charge it (which can be very annoying), rest assured that requirement is a thing of the past. Through innovative technology, the Astronics WCM ensures a wide placement radius so that you don’t have to land it perfectly in place to receive a charge. Convenience!

Learn more about wireless charging modules for use on aircraft.