Despite the progress in navigation equipment, the problem of pilots’ spatial orientation while landing in poor visibility conditions stays extremely urgent. Recent plane crashes (Polish president’s Tu-154, Apr. 2010; AirFrance A330 in the Atlantic, July. 2009 etc.) causing hundreds of victims are a strong evidence for such an assertion. And this is where Augmented Reality comes into play.
A recent project commissioned by the most important russian airline, Aeroflot, via public tender to Aviareal, a Moscow based innovative company, is especially targeted to address complex issues like the latter.
Aviareal llc is a resident of Skolkovo Technopark in Moscow. Led by Dr. Andrey Gorbunov, the company focuses on the development of augmented reality solutions for flight safety improvement. The projects are addressed to all categories of professionals in the avionics sector, including pilots (virtual approach visualization system), air traffic controllers, airport security staff, airside drivers (training systems) and technicians (aviation unit reference with 3D illustrations).
Aviareal presented projects at reputed forums, including
- EXPOPRIORITY’2010, Expocenter Fairgrounds, Moscow, first place diploma in the innovations contest,
- MAKS 2011 International Aviation and Space Salon,
- 67th ITF, Plovdiv (Bulgaria), 2011, gold medal in the IT nomination,
- TRANSPORT OF RUSSIA 2011, Moscow, Russia’s Minister of Transport visited the stand.
The specific feature of AVIARERAL’s projects is the use of virtual/augmented reality. Augmented reality (AR) is the newest information technology which allows combining the real world and virtual objects created by a computer. In the major part of its projects AVIAREAL uses full-immersive augmented reality which implies stereo imaging of virtual objects and the real world and also the use of high precision tracking solutions.
The video below shows just a preview of the flight augmentation system
Currently, AVIAREAL is developing a system with cost-effective components (certified augmented GPS/GLONASS receiver, stereo AR eyeglasses, built-in gyroscope and accelerometer of a mobile computer). Such a system will provide the approach descent path visualization in any (even zero) visibility conditions. All equipment fits the pilot’s shirt pocket. As a matter of fact the new pilot interface is introduced. Special AR training systems are developed for air traffic controllers, airport security personnel and airside drivers. These systems allow safe modeling of emergency situations in the real environment. An example: the model for the collision of A380 and Bombardier CRJ700 that took place in the New-York airport on April 12, 2011. Finally, the aviation unit reference with 3D illustrations is intended for technicians carrying out the aircraft maintenance.
Aviareal has established a partnership with Inglobe Technologies to carry out the development of some components of the system.