APiJET wins NASA license to commercialize a Waze-like app to guide airlines and pilots

Alan Boyle
A screenshot shows a version of NASA’s Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests software, also known as TASAR. (APiJET / NASA Graphic)

APiJET, a Seattle-based aviation data analytics company, says it has landed the first commercial license for a NASA flight-optimization technology known as Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests, or TASAR.

  • TASAR has been compared to Waze, a smartphone app that shows drivers the quickest route through tangled traffic. The NASA-developed software analyzes real-time data feeds, including air traffic, to recommend fuel-saving and time-saving flight trajectories for pilots. APiJET partnered with Alaska Airlines to try out the technology back in April, following up on earlier NASA trials.
  • A study reviewing those trials estimated annual cost savings at nearly $15 million a year. Buoyed by the results, APiJET said it reached agreement with NASA for commercialization in November. The new offering will be marketed under the name Digital Winglets.
  • APiJET was formed last year as a joint venture involving Aviation Partners and iJET Technologies. APiJET CEO Stephen Elop, who previously held executive roles at Nokia and Microsoft, said he was proud of the work done jointly by APiJET, NASA and Alaska Airlines over the past 15 months to bring Digital Winglets to fruition. “The journey from concept to production-ready has positioned us for successful 2020 airline deployments,” Elop said in a news release.

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