I was reading reports about the ghastly crash of a new Boeing 737 Max 8 bringing sudden death to 189 people off Indonesia yesterday. It was reported today that divers had recovered the black box needed for disaster analysis.
It occurred to me to wonder why we are still collecting such vital data by mechanical means that need to be recovered from the crash site. no matter how inaccessible. Why is the data not being streamed automatically to a cloud storage, immediately available and open for analysis when needed? It makes no sense, especially for a new plane like this one.
There are free apps available that allow me, virtually in real time, to track every ship in every ocean, to follow every flight across the globe, even to watch the London Tube in real time. The amount of data already being received from our modes of transportation is immense. Why then, cannot the technical details currently being transmitted to the black box in every plane in operation be sent securely, reliably, and continuously to one or more cloud-based storage facilities? The data would then be available immediately for analysis in the event of an incident.
If there is some technological reason why this work, then we need to figure out what will work and implement it. The savings in time, treasure, and danger to search crews will make the research and development worth it.