Unboxing the Future of Maritime & Aviation Safety
Image Courtesy: Blocbox is an immutable distributed ledger with blockchain technology to solve the challenges of retrieval of blackbox data, transparency, predictions and ownership in the maritime & aviation industry.
Singapore-based company develops world’s first Blockchain protocol for maritime and aviation safety, solving limitations of current safety instruments
In 2017, there were 2,712 reported maritime accidents1 and 44 fatalities in airliner accidents2. These statistics are unacceptable in today’s era of modern technology, and the numbers only reinforce the fact that even with advanced technology and equipment, there are still gaps in both industries – where safety remains the main concern. This is an inconvenient truth that gets masked by successful journeys and is often only unveiled by tragedies during a crash or sinking.
On 1 October 2015, a cargo vessel, El Faro, sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Sea after getting caught in Hurricane Joaquin. With it were 33 crew members on board, who perished together with the vessel on her final voyage. The search for the voyage data recorder (VDR) took 319 days and was only successful upon the third attempt, resulting in huge costs incurred for the retrieval and extended delays in the investigation. The investigation finally concluded 26 months after the sinking, marking the long drawn out end of a painful chapter for families who lost their loved ones on board.
In some instances, the black box does not turn up at all – as was the case with the missing Malaysia Airline flight 370 (MH370). With 239 passengers and crew members on board, MH370 is believed to have plunged into the depths of the Indian Ocean on 8 March 2014. Four and a half years on, the plane is still unrecovered, neither is the black box. The disappearance of MH370 resulted in the largest hunt in aviation history, with searchers covering a 120,000km2 area of the Indian Ocean. With no success to date3, the losses in terms of monetary costs and emotional agony for families who lost their loved ones in the incident have been tremendous.
Whenever maritime and aviation tragedies happen, there is always a race to retrieve the black box, which holds crucial information that led to the incidents. In the time taken to retrieve data recording devices, lives are lost, operations get disrupted; families lose their stability and businesses incur significant financial losses. There is an urgent need for an all-inclusive system accessible to companies and individuals alike for the safe and swift retrieval of data to aid investigations. This need was identified by a group of experts in the maritime and satellite communications industry, which marked the beginning of BlocBox.
Driven by a team with over 100 years of cumulative experience in specialised sectors, BlocBox utilises Blockchain technology to build an immutable distributed ledger that will solve challenges faced during data retrieval, subsequently setting a precedent for transparency in predictions and ownership in the maritime and aviation industry.
“We strongly believe there’s a better way, a better approach to transportation safety,” says Kenny Koh, CEO of BlocBox. “The appropriate use of blockchain technology and data analytics will bring forth a paradigm shift in these industries. With BlocBox, we will be overcoming the current limitations of safety instruments, and further, creating a precedent that will truly be revolutionary”.
In recent years, technological advancements have enabled airplanes and vessels to have better connectivity via satellite, allowing data to be transmitted from remote to shore. Tapping on this technology, the BlocBox solution allows for almost immediate retrieval of crucial data, further translating into cost efficiency due to ease of data access. Subsequently, BlocBox acts as a tool for dispute resolution as well, especially since data recorded and stored on Blockchain is secure and tamper-proof, helping the investigation process.
The BlocBox team has created a solution that encompasses all the processing and documentation during flights and voyages, including an Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature that can autonomously identify stress levels experienced by crew members, further transcribing the recordings for ease of reference to stakeholders. BlocBox’s prototype accommodates key utilities such as: transport and cargo monitoring, data analytics, smart contract powered invoicing and streamlining of disembarkation procedures, among others. BlocBox is more than just an improvement of the current black box and VDR; it is a sustainable ecosystem that embodies the safety and welfare of stakeholders in the transportation industry.
The future with BlocBox is the amalgamation of traditional industries and evolving technology, and the future is here, now!
1 Data from Safety and Shipping Review 2018 by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. Retrieved from https://www.agcs.allianz.com/assets/PDFs/Reports/AGCS_Safety_Shipping_Review_2018.pdf
2 Data from Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved from https://aviation- safety.net/database/hpbarometer_gallery.php?year=2017
3 Channel News Asia. (2018, November 30). New-found debris believed from Flight MH370 handed to Malaysia govt. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/new-found-debris-believed-from-flight-mh370- handed-to-malaysia-govt-10984746
4 Tremble, S. (2014, March 8). Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 makes it clear: we need to rethink black boxes. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/09/malaysia-airlines-flight- mh370-black-box.