Malaysian Airlines Flight: Big data, cloud can relay Black Box data in real time

In the wake of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 on 8 March while on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, ITU, a telecom industry body, today said big data and cloud can be used to relay black box data in real time.

There were media reports that Black Box, which contains vital information on what happened during the last couple of hours before the disappearance or possible crash of the missing flight with 249 passengers and crew, will not be useful after a particular time frame.

“I believe that data from aircraft, including from the black box could be continuously transmitted and stored in data centers on the ground,” said Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia.

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370

He was speaking at the opening of the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference taking place in Dubai.

“I urge ITU to work with industry to develop a better way to constantly monitor flight data and what is happening in the cockpit. With the advancements in ICT today, we should be able to retrieve and analyse this data without necessarily locating the black box. I cannot help but note that whilst communications technologies have evolved drastically in the past five years, the story of the black box remains unchanged from 30 years ago.”

All commercial airlines and corporate aircraft are required to install and use ‘black boxes’ to track a number of flight parameters. The flight data recorder (FDR) is designed to record the operating data from an aircraft’s systems, including pressure altitude, airspeed, vertical acceleration, magnetic heading and position of control systems. Cockpit Voice Recorders, or CVRs, record what the crew say and monitor any sounds that occur within the cockpit. These monitoring equipment provide investigators with clues about the cause of an accident.

ITU will invite avionics and aircraft manufacturers along with satellite operators and airlines to work on new standards to track aircraft in real time

“Inmarsat would be happy to work with ITU to develop a global solution to the challenge of tracking commercial aircraft,” said Chris McLaughlin, senior vice president — External Affairs of Inmarsat, the British satellite telecommunications company which helped provide clues to the possible track flown by the missing Boeing 777-200.

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