The idea of a fire on board an aircraft is the sort of scenario that can keep a pilot awake at night. Though rare, fire can be a huge threat to the safety of a plane and its passengers. Augmented Reality (AR) Smartglasses company ODG plans to use its AR knowledge to try and help.
On an aircraft, several thousand feet up in the air, there is nowhere to run if a fire breaks out. Pilots have oxygen masks that can give them time to bring the plan in for a landing, but smoke can make it hard for pilots to see the instruments, making a critical situation even more difficult.
Osterhout Design Group (ODG) are best known as makers of AR smartglasses, and hsve turned their technology towards this problem, resulting in a new product created with the aim of helping pilots to land safely in emergency situations.
The AR-enabled mask will allow pilots to see clearly in a smoke-filled cockpit. According to the FAA, smoke is the number one cause of emergency landings, and the fourth leading cause of aircraft loss and flight-related fatality.
The Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced display, or SAVED lets pilots see their aircraft’s instruments using an AR heads-up display (HUD) system, and also gives them access to views from external cameras, thus providing vital flight information. The technology is currently being tested on FedEx Express cargo planes, with plans for ODG to make the technology available to civilian and government agencies in future.
AR has previously been used for military flight training, as well as assisting passengers in navigating through airports or planning their next flight. In addition, mixed reality (MR) has been deployed on Air New Zealand flights for use by cabin crew. Virtual reality (VR) has also seen use for civilian flight training and to help train new aircraft mechanics.
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