Modern travel often involves flights where passengers carry devices like smartphones or laptops. These devices have wireless features such as Wi-Fi or GPS that can interfere with the plane's systems. So, airlines often ask passengers to use airplane mode during flight, turning off these features.
However, this process is not foolproof, as it relies on passengers remembering and understanding how to engage airplane mode. And any devices on board left with full connectivity enabled will not differentiate between in-flight Wi-Fi and regular ground-based Wi-Fi, leading to bandwidth-consuming processes, such as photo backups, running uncontrolled and hogging the plane's limited internet resources.
To overcome these challenges, a patent has been filed by Google (invented by Maxim Coppin) outlining an improved way of handling wireless communications on portable computing devices during air travel. This new system is called Connected Flight Mode, as reported by ParkiFly.
With this approach, a device can automatically shift to a connected flight mode based on specific factors, eliminating the need for users to manually switch to airplane mode. This mode aims to give users better control over their device's settings, potentially improving their flight experience while still maintaining necessary safety measures.
When the device notices elements suggestive of an in-flight status, such as location, altitude, pressure, speed, and background noise levels, the connected flight mode turns on. For instance, the device transforms from the usual mode to the Connected Flight Mode when it judges that it is inside an airplane and recognizes the particular noises, pressures, and motions that usually precede a takeoff. This mode prohibits some radio frequency communications like cellular networks, but it might still permit others, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, to function.
The Connected Flight Mode, in some versions, can activate multiple sub-modes at different flight stages or upon identifying different factors. Each sub-mode can provide different settings or actions from the others, offering a highly dynamic and responsive system.
But remember — this is only a patent, and there's no guarantee that Google or any other company will turn this concept into an actual product. Its eventual creation will likely hinge on a range of influences, including customer interest, regulatory sanctions, and technological viability. Still, it's fun to imagine the possibilities with such a system.