Boost Airline Safety With The Internet Of Things and Big Data

By on July 8, 2013

Although the chances of being involved in a plane crash are next to zero, there are ways we can utilize big data and the internet of things (IoT) to provide even greater prevention practices to the industry.   Additionally, these data sources can provide valuable diagnostic information post-crash, allowing investigators to determine pilot state of mind before and during a crash, such as with the Boeing 777 Asiana incident.

Each passenger has their own black-box:  a mobile phone

Although modern planes have significant diagnostic information available to them, including the “black box”, there are actually hundreds of additional sensors available throughout the passenger compartment, in the form of mobile phones and other devices.  Each device records basic diagnostic information such as an accelerometer that can be used to provide further data points in incidents.

For example, accelerometer data can tell us:

  • what percentage of passengers stay in their seat and at what times with their seatbelt on during the trip?
  • how does turbulence affect passengers?
  • what are the movement patterns of crew and passengers during an emergency?

Monitoring vital signs and health of pilots in-flight

Remote vital sign monitoring is extremely commonplace and inexpensive.   Requiring pilots and crew to wear these devices would yield some fantastic data sources:

  • increases in heart rate/stress may signal potentially dangerous situations before they are identified by diagnostics
  • monitor actual crew and pilot fatigue

Airlines would set up “alerts” based on this data, forewarning potential incidents and placing planes and/or routes on “watch-lists”.


These use-cases would help not only in airline safety, but also in other transportation and logistics industries as well.



About MikeZeinfeld

Mike Zeinfeld is the CEO of Complemedia, Inc. Complemedia develops proprietary media channels for niche audiences using technology. Current projects include IoT ventures such as and

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