2014, saw one of the greatest aviation mysteries of our time, after a routine flight, Malaysian Airlines MH370, disappeared from radar without a trace. Now, thanks to technology provided by SatAuth and two10degrees, those mysteries could become a thing of the past.
Aircraft can be tracked when ground radar is available, but when over sea, the planes can essentially vanish for hours on end. In the absence of ground-based radar an automatic broadcast is sent via the aircrafts’ satcomm systems, the Automatic Dependence Surveillance Broadcast (ADSB). However, the ADSB systems have their flaws including the reliance on the aircrafts’ systems, for example when the aircraft has no power, the ADSB will not work.
Since the case of the missing MH370 flight, legislation on aircraft tracking has started to change – by 2018, all ADSB systems must report every 15 minutes, previously this was every 40 minutes and from 2021 all commercial aeroplanes need to be fitted with an independent tracking system.
SatAuth’s system does not rely on aircraft flight deck information input e.g. the aircrafts’ GPS and speed detection. The hardware takes independent readings and transmits them live to the ground, via the Iridium satellite network. The data is transmitted as events take place anywhere in the world so you can know what happened to the plane long before the black box is recovered.
Once the device has been plugged in onboard, it immediately starts broadcasting data via satellite and aircraft can be instantly monitored anywhere in the world by any portable device. The data is transferred through the Global Alerting Platform (GAP) and the GAP Portal is used as a visualisation software tool for tracking and monitoring the location of the planes. Anomalies such as flight path irregularities can be detected and the flight data broadcasting frequency can be changed automatically, adhering to autonomous distress tracking.
“Our technology is being used to help create a safer and more efficient aerospace industry. The SatAuth solution paired with our Global Alerting Platform, is an incredible breakthrough for aviation. We look forward to what the future holds.”
Richard Prodger, Technical Director at two10degrees
The SatAuth solution was first developed to enable real-time credit card transactions onboard aircraft. This is something which still isn’t currently widely available. Historically, any credit card transaction made onboard an aircraft wasn’t processed until the plane had landed, allowing stolen, fake and fraudulent cards to be used.
SatAuth’s system has already been installed on two South African Airlines’ commercial aircraft for testing. The installations have been approved by the South African Civil Aviation Authority as well as the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).
“We would like to dramatically improve Flight operations, Security and Emergency services’ access to real-time tracking data through the implementation of the SatAuth Independent Communications Platform, knowing that its implementation will provide the data required to accurately identify and locate a distressed Flight in the shortest possible time.”
Janine Roux, Programme Director at SatAuth
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Find out more about SatAuth at http://satauth.com.
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