Taipei, Taiwan: Taiwan has developed a technology to retrieve information from damaged GPS chips, used in helicopters and other vehicles. Japan’s Transportation Safety Board (JTSB) sought Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council’s (ASC) help to determine the cause of a helicopter crash, according to Kuan Wen-lin, Director, ASC laboratory.
The council used the technology to read the information in the Japanese helicopter’s GPS and discovered that it was caught in a heavy fog and crashed into a mountain, Kuan said.
Chip makers usually are unable to retrieve information from chips that have been burned, soaked or broken in an accident. Chang’s lab, however, uses 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.
Most helicopters and super-light aircraft are not equipped with the “black boxes” — flight data recorders — that are installed on larger aircraft, but instead have GPS, which records flight times, positions, directions and velocities, which can be used to help determine the causes of an accident.