Latécoère LiFi at Paris Air Show. Image via Latecoere

Latécoère showcased its Li-Fi solution in an Air France cabin mockup at the Paris Air Show in June 2019. Image via Latécoère

Word’s been going around that Li-Fi could best Wi-Fi on weight, reliability, cost and performance. With Latécoère announcing plans to scale up its Li-Fi solution for commercial aviation, this claim is something airlines will soon be able to test for themselves.

Latécoère has signed agreements with two new companies to enable the industrial scale-up of its Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) in-flight connectivity technology, which uses light to transmit data.

The first MoU is with Signify, for the use of its Trulifi systems, which combine energy-efficient LED lighting with a secure and high-speed two-way wireless connection to create speeds of up 250 Mbps for the uplink and downlink.

Initially, Latécoère and Signify will work to provide connectivity for seatback in-flight entertainment systems, before moving on to personal electronic devices. Signify launched Trulifi earlier this year and has already installed 100 systems worldwide.

“Through this partnership, Signify and Latécoère will transform the cabin experience for passengers by providing them the latest technology in connectivity,” said Olivia Qiu, Signify’s chief innovation officer. “Trulifi offers enormous potential and our ambition is, in addition to aircraft, to provide this technology to other forms of transport as well, so people have access to a reliable, secure and fast internet connection, wherever they may be.”

The second MoU is with South Korea’s Huneed Technologies, which will help to develop and produce hardware for the Li-Fi solution, including a passenger distribution unit and fibre optic router.

Eugene Kim, chairman of Huneed Technologies, said, “This opportunity seamlessly aligns with our growth strategy of globally scaling our aerospace business unit into commercial aviation. Huneed will ensure the delivery of Li-Fi data communication electronics and software to enable the widespread adoption of this technology that will play a critical role in the next generation of smart cabins in delivering best-in-class passenger experience.”

Latécoère first demonstrated its Li-Fi in-flight connectivity solution at the Paris Air Show in June together with Air France and Ubisoft. Latécoère’s technology was installed in a full-scale cabin mockup of an Air France aircraft, having been certified and integrated by Air France KLM Industries KLM Engineering.

During the event, Ubisoft launched a never-before-seen tournament based around its racing video game TrackMania² Stadium, which featured customized racetracks with elements related to Air France and Latécoère. Visitors to Latécoère’s stand were then encouraged to play against each other online using tablets in the cabin mockup. The final rounds of the tournament took place in September on an Air France commercial flight especially kitted out with Latécoère’s Li-Fi technology at 12 seats for the occasion.

“The Paris Air Show 2019 gave Latécoère the opportunity to demonstrate the power of the Li-Fi speed. Our technology, which showcases our Group’s worldwide lead in innovation, raised a lot of expectation from the market and is now ready to progress to the next level,” commented Yannick Assouad, Latécoère’s CEO. “Partnering with two leaders in their respective sectors such as Signify and Huneed Technologies will enable new opportunities and horizons for Latécoère’s Li-Fi, to ensure its widespread use in airplane cabins.”