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Glass Box v2

::: nBlog :::

As a pilot, I’ve always been interested in the safety equipment in aircrafts, such as Emergency Location Transmitters and flotation devices. As a passenger, I usually even read the emergency guide slip at the seat pocket, especially when flying on an aircraft new to me.

Almost ten years ago I wrote about Glass Boxes, which I envisioned as next generation of the (still) current Black Boxes. (They are orange in reality, though.) Apart from its black grandfather, a Glass Box is a method for continuously streaming aircraft performance, location and safety data into relevant ground stations, utilizing direct aircraft-to-ground connections or satellites. Each plane would have its Digital Twin in a secure cloud, with each and every steering move and sensor reading stored for later analysis.

Today we’ve moved into Spime Boxes, as the data link is real time and bidirectional. BaseN is no stranger to real aircraft either, as our prototype nDrone has already had its maiden takeoff with BaseN Platform as the pilot in command. I got goosebumps just by watching it.

The bidirectional Spime Box would allow unprecedented situational awareness for planes globally, and even offer control opportunities in cases of pilot ailments or hijacking situations. Furthermore, simulators for new pilot training could be fed with always current, real data.

Within the last 10 years, we’ve lost almost 1000 lives in air disasters, and some planes have also disappeared completely, leaving relatives with protracted agony. Given the technology we already have, I find this unacceptable.

The Spime Box needs first and foremost new kind of architecture and thinking. Every single component of new aircraft should be equipped with sensors, from engine blades and pitot tubes to door handles. Data collection must be multi-layered and adaptive to the communication options available. For this critical system, the system must also be a full stack solution, minimizing third party dependencies.

If we can stream Olympics to a billion people, we can also make air travel safer. I’m looking forward to flying the first spimed plane.

//Pasi on stopover in Stockholm, enroute to Düsseldorf

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