Taiwan develops technology to read damaged GPS chips

Taiwan develops technology to read damaged GPS chips

5-Jan-2011 Source: HeliHub.com

Taiwan has developed new technology to retrieve information from damaged GPS chips, which will be particulary helpful in accident investigation where no flight data recorder is present, Japan’s Council for Aviation Safety said Tuesday 28th.

CAS director Kuan Wen-lin briefed the media on the use of the technology, noting that Japan’s Transportation Safety Board sought the council’s help in September to help determine the cause of a helicopter crash.  Use of the new technology helped determine that the subject helicopter was caught in a heavy fog and crashed into a mountain, Kuan said.

Microchip makers are usually unable to retrieve information from chips that have been burned, soaked or broken in an accident. The new discoverty leverages reverse engineering to “rebuild” the data on the damaged chips.  In cooperation with GPS manufacturers, the lab last year designed a device that can “read” the retrieved data, he noted.

Kuan presented a paper on the lab’s research and the new device at an international meeting of aviation accident investigators earlier this year, winning an award for best paper.

The device was first used to help investigate an accident in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, in May last year. In August 2009, the device was again used to read information from a damaged GPS aboard a helicopter on a rescue mission after a typhoon.

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