Chinese aircraft manufacturer uses big data to build safer planes
With a global focus on how to reduce safety risks caused by anomalous human behavior and how to fully recover data crucial for analysing an air crash, a Chinese aircraft manufacturer is using big data and cloud technology to build safer airplanes.
“The time for revolution in aviation safety has come,” Wei Ye, executive director and president of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) America Corporation told Xinhua. The Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety of France (BEA) recently confirmed that the crash of a plane of German budget airline Germanwings a year ago was caused deliberately by its co-pilot, who had been suffering from depression. The Airbus 320 crashed in southern France on March 24, 2015, while en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, killing 150 people on board.
Unmanned flight concept
To minimise such risks caused by human factors, COMAC America Corporation is studying the concept of “unmanned flight with human supervision” using a big data-based computer, which operates in an entirely closed environment without influence from outside.
“Without the influence of pilots’ ‘emotions’ and mishandling, a computer-pilot- ed plane is safer than a manned one,” Ye said.
In a computer-piloted plane, a hard-drive with big data, which include flight routes, weather information, emergency processing programs.
Tracing flying plane
Meanwhile, the company is conducting research and development on improving the ability to trace a flying plane.
It will be difficult to analyse a plane crash, locate the crash site and conduct a rescue in a timely manner if the plane’s “black box” goes missing. Take flight MH370 for instance. Malaysian officials said recently the two pieces of debris found in Mozambique were consistent with parts on a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, and hence almost certainly were from the missing flight MH370. Yet the missing black box still makes the accident that happened two years ago one of the most perplexing crashes in the history of modern civil aviation. In December 2015, the European Union announced new requirements for closer tracking of an aircraft in the sky and improved traceability of the black box aboard.
In this aspect, the Chinese aircraft manufacturer is capitalising on a latecomer advantage.