C.H.A.R.L.I. The Cabin Robotic Assistance

Create a flight attendant in a virtual environment that utilizes cutting-edge technology to enhance the inflight experience for passengers, as well as improve crew productivity.

The Challenge

Enhance the in flight experience by creating products that use emerging technologies. Flight Attendants have a lot of tasks and duties that take them away from passengers creating a less personable flight journey.

The Approach

The students were split into teams, each focusing on a different phase in the flight journey. The teams each created several concepts that were then refined and validated through interactions with stakeholders. Each team interviewed flyers and flight attendants several times throughout the semester. The teams also visited CVG to get an idea of scale and to identify possible areas for design opportunities.

The Results

The teams created several products that interact with both passengers and flight attendants. The final solutions both assist the flight attendants as well as completely take some tasks off their hands, allowing for the flight attendants to spend more time with the passengers.


C.H.A.R.L.I. the cabin bot has a multitude of functions, however the most important feature is one that helps the flight attendants with collecting trash. He not only carries trash for the flight attendants, which frees up both of their hands, but also compacts the trash. At the end of the flight, a worker can empty C.H.A.R.L.I.’s internal bins; there is one for trash and one for recycling.


Medical emergencies can be filled with stress and anxiety. C.H.A.R.L.I. the cabin bot helps calm those fears. He provides a point of direct communication with medical professionals on the ground, and displays a passenger’s vitals once the flight attendant has placed a biometeric bracelet. He also projects step-by-step instructions of simple medical procedures that can guide flight attendants through the proper protocol.

Patent Application: 17-1212

Find out how you can get involved.

Experience our design thinking process by becoming a partner, accepting a cooperative learning position, or participating in one of our user-centered research think tank sessions.


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