by Stephen Feller
Munich, Germany (UPI) Jun 29, 2016
Pilots must be able to detect hazards as early as possible in order to quickly plot a path around them. In thick fog or clouds, however, this can be difficult.
Researchers at the Technical University of Munich may have a solution for pilots in limited-visibility conditions using an augmented reality system imported to a helmet-mounted display that has been successful in flight simulators.
The system combines terrain information and sensor readings into the display, which can also show speed, altitude and other flight data alongside digitally-generated outlines of the landscape and any obstacles.
For pilots flying rescue helicopters, in addition to mountains or houses, construction equipment, turbines and other structures pose a danger if they cannot be seen and avoided in time. In the augmented reality system, green lines outline mountains and houses, while red outlines show other obstructions, allowing pilots to react.
"The new technology can reduce the risk when helicopters are operated," Franz Viertler, a researcher at the Technical University of Munich, said in a press release. "The main problem is poor visibility caused by clouds or snow, or dust blown up when taking off and landing. Augmented reality can help to overcome this white-out or brown-out phenomenon."
In a presentation at the American Helicopter Society International's 72nd Annual Forum and Technology Display, researchers presented test data gathered in simulators showing the system could be effective.
The researchers recruited 16 professional helicopter pilots to test the system during simulator flights, recording the flights and tracking the pilots' stress during simulation, as well as usability of the system.
Overall, the pilots reported they flew more quickly and felt more safe, in addition to reporting the simulated flights felt less demanding physically and mentally. The greatest benefit of the system, they said, was in visual ranges of 100 to 400 meters.
More testing will be necessary in simulators, but the researchers say the system needs to be tested during actual flights, which may be possible sooner than later as industry has already shown interest.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|