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GE Patent Filings Hint at Blockchain Role in Aircraft Management

New patent filings from General Electric suggest that it is looking at blockchain as part of a wider aircraft monitoring and maintenance system.

Nov 9, 2017 at 9:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:08 a.m. UTC

New patent filings from General Electric suggest that the U.S. conglomerate may be looking at blockchain as part of a wider aircraft monitoring and maintenance system.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published five applications from GE today, each of which focus on a concept for a "dynamic optimization" system that would touch multiple aspects of managing and operating aircraft, including maintenance services.

One component of that system, the applications indicate, would be a mechanism for parties involved in the aircraft oversight process. While noting that these entities would typically be paid through traditional finance channels, they suggest that cryptocurrencies – or some application of blockchain thereof – could facilitate such payouts instead.

"The delivery of the cash flows amongst stakeholders is certainly enabled with traditional debits and credits into financial accounts and may be implemented with crypto-currency mechanisms whose core logic is informed by precise allocation of cashflows," the applications note – though they don't include any other mention of the technology.

That GE would potentially investigate this area is perhaps unsurprising, given past developments from notable airline carriers. Earlier this year, Air France revealed that it was looking at blockchain as a way to track maintenance flows for its airplanes, with the idea being that the technology could underpin a shared database of update information.

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