Avoiding air turbulence may soon get easier

airplane turbulence

Fun fact: Airline pilots don't get automated air turbulence reports.

But a new partnership between IBM's (IBM) Weather Company and Gogo (GOGO) looks to change that situation to help improve airline safety.

Pilots flying aircraft equipped with Gogo inflight technology will now get air turbulence alerts in real-time, the two companies announced Thursday.

The Weather Company will put its turbulence detection algorithm into Gogo's aircraft-based communications servers. That software will get access to data from planes in the air, and Gogo will process that data and send reports back and forth between air and ground officials using its communications networks.

Think of it like Google Maps using crowd-sourced data from lots of mobile phones to compile traffic information.

Pilots traditionally receive verbal reports with limited data on flight conditions. They will now be able to receive this information directly through their existing cockpit systems.

"This is the first time a non-traditional system on the aircraft will be used to help enhance flight safety," the companies said in a statement.

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Bumpy flights aren't just uncomfortable -- they can cause injuries and damage to planes. Turbulence related problems can cost airlines about $100 million a year, according to The Weather Company and Gogo.

Helping companies save money through partnerships like this is what IBM had mind when it acquired The Weather Company.

Weather information is valuable to many big businesses that rely on forecasts to make sure their logistics and supply operations run smoothly.

As IBM (IBM) expands its cloud and cognitive computing services, the company needs to show that its predictive systems can provide useful and accurate data.

The partnership comes at a crucial time for Gogo as well. The main provider of inflight Wi-Fi in the U.S. is trying to improve connectivity reliability and speeds -- from 10 MBPS to 70 MBPS.

Private planes will be the first to take advantage of the new technology, but both companies hope to expand its network to commercial fleets globally in the future.

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