ITU to help develop real-time black boxes

Dylan Bushell-Embling
04 Apr 2014

As the world continues to search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the ITU has agreed to develop standards enabling real-time capture of 'black box' flight recorder data.

The ITU made the commitment at the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference in Dubai this week, on the urging of Malaysian communications minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

The ITU has announced plans to work with avionics and aircraft manufacturers, satellite operators and airlines to develop new standards to track aircraft in real time. The standards will take advantage of the latest developments in big data and cloud computing.

“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,” Cheek said.

He noted that black box technology has remained unchanged for 30 years despite the significant advances in communications technologies over this time.

Black boxes record flight parameters including pressure altitude, airspeed, vertical acceleration, magnetic heading and position of control systems. They also include a voice recording of sounds occurring within a plane's cockpit. All commercial airlines are required to install the devices.

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