Thinking outside the little black box

Ever on the lookout for industry innovations, we were interested by this piece in the International Herald Tribune, “Airline industry is studying ways to protect black boxes.”

As described in the Tribune, while modern communications technology has allowed real-time transmission of information in even the most banal situation, “…when Airbus jets from Air France and Yemenia Airways crashed into the ocean, taking their black boxes into the deep with them, neither aircraft could send its data and cockpit voice recordings to a secure place on the ground.”  As the article quips, there is an “…expectation of air travellers that multimillion-dollar airplanes should have more, not less, technological capability that the average Twitter user.”

A "black box," courtesy of

A "black box," photo credit:

It is not a new idea to transmit real time info (like the millions of Twitter users do every day) from the”black box” data recorder – it is just one that has not yet been brought to fruition.  Given the amount of bandwidth required, the amount planes in the air at any given time, as well as the confidentiality of data being sent, etc. there are a number of obstacles to overcome.

Airbus has responded to say that they are set to find new ways that will “reduce the chance of losing critical data.”  More specifically, two department heads are investigating “live data transmission, external black boxes and…extending the life of the black box pinger.”

Cavotec as a company wholeheartedly believes in the transforming power of technological innovations.  In fact, in this crossroads between two powerful industries, Airline and Communications, there is undoubtedly large potential for a groundbreaking solution.

What do you think?

Ice Road Trucker

Solar-powered aircraft – industry saviour?

Last month we wrote about the unveiling of the Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft – an inspiring project that could be part of the solution for an industry that “has been battered from all directions since the financial system nearly collapsed in September, ” as described in the International Herald Tribune on July 14, 2009.

As Bertrand Piccard, President and Initiator of the project said on the day of the unveiling, “We all share the same human values, the same spirit for a more sustainable future.  Protecting the environment is vital.  But it should also be profitable. Otherwise, nobody is going to commit himself to find the solutions and to change something in this world.”

Is Solar Impulse a sustainable, but profitable solution that could help a “struggling” industry?

Watch a clip of the Solar Impulse unveiling day by clicking here.