November 2001 - Qualcomm Joins Rush To Make Aircraft Safer
Some of the new security applications include real-time video and
audio monitoring of aircraft cabins and cockpits, and communications
between Air Marshals and flight crews.
In addressing a widespread fear of flying following the September
11th terrorist attacks, airlines are looking to beef up security to
assuage the public and to protect themselves from future hijackings.
Wireless communications giant Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) on Monday
unveiled an aviation safety system that the company said meets this
The MDSS Globalstar Communications System (MDSS), which is based on
Qualcomm's CDMA (code division multiple access) digital wireless
platform and space-based technology from Globalstar Telecommunications
(Nasdaq: GSTRF), provides real-time wireless data transmission --
including voice and video -- between aircraft and ground crews,
including air traffic controllers and law enforcement personnel,
Globalstar's two-way, high-speed communications capability, originally
designed for access to and from ground services and for access to
private networks, Web sites and e-mail, also supports aviation safety
applications using CDMA technology, the companies said.
The Globalstar system, launched in 1999, uses 48 low-earth-orbiting
satellites and a network of ground stations to provide mobile
telephone and data communications services throughout the world,
primarily in areas underserved by traditional wireless services.
The new security applications include real-time video and audio
monitoring of aircraft cabins and cockpits; an air traffic control
service to alert aviation authorities to emergency situations;
transmission of aircraft flight data to the ground; on-the-ground
access to flight data and cockpit voice recorders; and communications
between Air Marshals and the flight crew. MDSS also offers access to
aircraft identification, altitude, speed and location information,
according to Qualcomm.
Qualcomm said it began developing this technology as a consumer
service two years ago.
"It became apparent that the critical need was for a solution
to enhance aviation security, safety and passenger care," said
Irwin Mark Jacobs, Qualcomm chairman and CEO. "The technology,
equipment and infrastructure are available today and it is possible to
develop a wide range of applications -- from remote diagnostics for
medical usage to streaming video of cockpit and cabin activity."
A demonstration of MDSS, which Qualcomm said is in the final stages
of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval and offers broadband
packet data connections at 128 kilobits per second (kbps), was
provided by the company using a Challenger 604 aircraft.
The test included video streaming from the cabin and cockpit to the
ground, video of the cabin in a co-pilot display and transmission of
the aircraft's position, as well as e-mail, instant messaging and
For more information: http://www.qualcomm.com/press/webcast