Why are we still relying on primitive broadcast transponder technology and even more primitive radar to keep track of commercial aircraft? For years now we've had the technology for live system data communications between the aircraft and the base on the ground. This allows us to automatically check critical systems and forewarn the crew of developing problems. Indeed, we can even take over failing systems to assure the safety of the passengers and the crew. If we can have complete telemetry and control of a rover in Mars we should also have telemetry of commercial airplanes and ships on Earth. The technology is there, and not prohibitively expensive. But we need to set up monitoring servers worldwide that can be accessed securely by the control towers. This coordination starts with the U.N., and it should set out to do it.
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