CGI's New Virtual 'Black Box' to Revolutionize Flight Safety - Here's How!

In a significant leap towards enhancing flight safety and incident response, the European Space Agency (ESA) has entrusted CGI, a Canadian global IT consulting company, with the development of a cloud-based Universal Virtual Flight Data Recorder (UVFDR). CGI's experience spans over four decades of developing space software systems that underpin satellite navigation, communications, and operations.

This virtual "Black Box" aims to replicate the functionality of traditional crash-protected flight data recorders within a cloud-based framework. The UVFDR will offer immediate access to crucial data in the event of an emergency, incident, or accident.

CGI's proprietary blockchain solution, TrustedFabric, forms the basis for this new system. It's designed for storing sensitive data and offers scalability for global usage. Any aircraft outfitted to send engineering telemetry and operational data to the ground could potentially utilize the UVFDR.

"Understanding the cause of an air-related incident is critical to improving flight safety and providing closure for those affected and their families," noted Neil Timms, CGI's senior vice president, Space, Defence and Intelligence for UK & Australia. "CGI is honored to collaborate with ESA on this venture. We're leveraging our rich heritage in secure, reliable cloud technology to build a virtual flight recording service that facilitates flight data transmission to a secure cloud storage facility."

The UVFDR can function independently on smaller aircraft or in conjunction with traditional recorders on larger aircraft, meeting the Global Aeronautic Distress and Safety System (GADSS) requirements.

Beyond its immediate capabilities, the UVFDR technology also harbors the potential to enable additional services such as enhanced technical support for inflight aircraft, flight recording solutions for remotely piloted vehicles, and airspace data integration services for air navigation service providers.

"The UVFDR won't only deliver the reliable data required by investigations, but it will also be able to identify and signal potential unsafe situations before they materialize," explained Li Wen-Chin from the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre at Cranfield University, UK.

To actualize the global UVFDR service, CGI will leverage the increasing availability of satellite data communications bandwidth and the expanding suite of aircraft equipment capable of transmitting flight data, such as Quick Access Recorders (QAR). In this ambitious endeavor, CGI will be partnering with the ESA, Code Magus, Cranfield University, Amazon Web Services (AWS), SatAuth, and other industry stakeholders.

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