Advances in Avionics Improve Safety

American aerospace and defense contractor, Raytheon, has developed a wearable computer and monocle display to increase pilot situational awareness to the extent that the pilot may feel like he is “flying in a glass ball”, according to the company’s business development manager for the new Advanced Distributed Aperture System (ADAS), Trevor Bushell. The new wearable computer technology enables pilots to see through dust storms, and even see through the floor of their aircraft, according to a Raytheon spokesperson. This is achieved, in part, with maps and videos via the computer strapped to the pilot’s wrist.

Former V-22 Osprey pilot turned Raytheon engineer, Todd Lovell, notes that the aviation industry is moving into an era of “cutting edge pilot capabilities”. Key visual data is presented to the pilot in a heads-up manner via a monocle placed in front of the pilot’s eye. 3D audio in the pilot’s helmet allows him to hear where hostile fire is coming from, while a state-of-the-art system of exterior sensors provides circular vision, even when normal vision is compromised, such as in dust storms.

High-resolution infrared and near-infrared images are delivered to the pilot and crew by the Advanced Distributed Aperture System, allowing pilots a view beyond the floor and walls of the aircraft. This can prove invaluable particularly for helicopters required to land in darkness or when the pilot’s view is compromised by bad weather conditions.

With avionics continually advancing, trade shows such as the upcoming Avionics Europe in Munich, Germany, on 20-21 February 2013, perform a vital role in keeping key players in the aerospace industry informed. One of the topics for discussion on the Avionics Europe conference program is the much debated topic of Head Up vs Head Down displays for pilots. Other topics on the agenda include Global Market Challenges for Avionics; Air & Ground Surveillance; Safety & Security; Cockpit Control & Displays, Retrofits, Upgrades & Derivatives; and Helicopter Technologies. Among the exhibitors at the event include Airbus, Avionics Intelligence, Euroavionics, Northcorp Grumman, Barco Avionics, Institute of Flight Systems Dynamics, Techsat, Institute of Flight Systems and many more.