May 12th, 2014
12:57 PM ET

Search Company to Provide ‘Black Boxes in the Clouds’

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues as the International Civil Aviation Organization, or (ICAO), meets this week to review the best methods for tracking planes.

At the same time, Inmarsat, the company whose satellite had the last known contact with Flight 370, announced the company will invest about $3 million to offer a free global airline tracking service.

Senior Vice President Chris McLaughlin said the technology, which acts like a "text message," will send information about a plane's speed, time and distance back through their network.

Inmarsat is offering this communication service to all 11,000 commercial passenger aircraft, or "virtually 100 per cent of the world’s long haul commercial fleet," it said.

The company's website adds that they will also offer a ‘black box in the cloud’ service that, when triggered, would stream flight data recorder information and cockpit audio off a plane to aviation safety professionals somewhere else.

McLaughlin said the industry has been looking at this for five years, but "we want to cut through that and offer this to them now."

cuomo inmarsat

With Inmarsat's announcement, some are questioning if this is a public relations move to off-set recent criticism that the company hasn't released all their data related to the missing plane.

McLaughlin told CNN's Chris Cuomo Monday they aren't hiding anything.

We've "shared what little data we have" and four other independent groups "are content with the model that we put forward," he said.

McLaughlin emphasized that there isn't a huge amount of data that exists from their end, except for "handshake pings between the satellite and the aircraft" that let them know the plane was in the air for a number of hours after it was lost.

The official also said the company is limited by what they can share because Malaysia is at the center of the investigation so the data belongs to that country.

He said, "It's a matter for the authorities to decide what they're going to do with their data. It's not something Inmarsat can release."



READ: Flight 370 search chief: Hunt for plane is the most difficult in history

READ: Help from above: Satellite signals can confirm a plane's identity

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