Home > Articles

Aerospace and Defense

  • Print
  • + Share This

AR expert Steve Aukstakalnis presents case studies within which augmenting and immersive displays, spatial audio, and tactile and force feedback systems are used to leverage strengths of the human perceptual system in the control of complex machines such as jet aircraft to train astronauts and help refine skill sets and situational awareness of soldiers on the battlefield.

This chapter is from the book

Applications for immersive and augmenting display technologies are widespread within the aerospace and defense communities of the United States and most other industrialized nations. From leveraging strengths of the human perceptual system in the control of complex machines such as jet aircraft, to training astronauts and helping refine skill sets and situational awareness of soldiers, virtual and augmented reality systems are having a solid impact on performance and cost efficiency. In this chapter we explore a number of such applications, detailing the benefits gained and some of the challenges still faced.

Flight Simulation and Training

Safely piloting an aircraft is an acquired talent. At the most basic level, it requires dozens of hours of actual flight time, plus classroom study, to develop, demonstrate, and test out on the legally recognized skill set and proficiency level necessary to become a licensed pilot. The more complex the aircraft, the greater the number of hours and specialized training necessary to learn how to safely and effectively handle the increasingly complicated systems.

This training methodology works sufficiently well up until the point that advanced skills are needed, such as flying in formation or aerial refueling. At that point, the training challenges and expense are magnified significantly to include the need for additional aircraft and crews, high-end simulators, and more.

Fused Reality

Systems Technology, Inc. of Hawthorne, California, asked this question: Can we use an actual aircraft as a simulator and get the best of both worlds? The answer is yes. In collaboration with NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, and the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, California, engineers have developed an innovative combination virtual/augmented reality system known as Fused Reality that enables any aircraft to be used as a flying simulator.

As shown in Figure 17.1, the heart of the system is a fully immersive stereoscopic head-mounted display customized to include a centrally mounted video camera. Video signals from this camera are sent to a high-performance notebook computer, which itself is connected to the aircraft avionics data bus. Specialized software algorithms analyze the video signal and determine, quite literally, where the cockpit ends and the windscreen and windows begin. It is into these spaces (the windshield and windows) that computer-generated imagery is placed within the video signal returned to the display and presented to the user.

Figure 17.1

Figure 17.1 The Fused Reality head-mounted display shown in this image provides the user a combined view of the actual cockpit interior and instruments as well as computer-generated imagery beginning at the windows.

Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

The orientation of the user’s head (roll, pitch, and yaw) is monitored using IMUs built into the display unit. That information, as well as data from the avionics bus such as movement of aircraft controls, airspeed, and heading, is combined to generate and precisely register the computer-generated imagery.

The Fused Reality system provides two primary operating modes. The first, shown in Figure 17.2, provides a real-world view of the interior of the cockpit, but everything seen outside of the windscreen and windows is completely computer generated. Such a capability provides infinite flexibility in the creation of training scenarios. The user could actually be flying high above a barren desert but be presented with a detailed mountain scene within the display. Complicated approaches and precision runway or carrier landings can be practiced thousands of feet in the air. Or, as is depicted in Figure 17.2, complex aerial refueling operations and other formation flying scenarios can be practiced although there are no other aircraft for miles in any direction. It goes without saying that in this operating mode, having a safety pilot in the cockpit is highly recommended.

Figure 17.2

Figure 17.2 One operating mode of the Fused Reality system displays a completely computer-generated virtual environment beyond the edge of the pilot’s view of the physical control panel. In this snapshot of an aerial refueling simulation, the pilot attempts to connect a virtual receiver probe into a drogue receptacle extending from the wing of a computer-generated tanker.

Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

The second operating configuration, shown in Figure 17.3, is referred to as “stencil mode.” This configuration gives the user a real-world view of both the cockpit interior as well as the scene outside of the aircraft, but with computer-generated objects such as aircraft added into that outside view. Here again, the breadth of potential application scenarios is limitless. Pilots can practice and hone skills at a fraction of the cost, and without the danger, of traditional real-world training missions involving other aircraft and crews. If you collide with a virtual aircraft in these simulations, you simply reset the training application and start again (Merlin, 2015).

Figure 17.3

Figure 17.3 This image shows the Fused Reality system operating in stencil mode, within which a computer-generated virtual tanker is displayed over the real scene of the outside world.

Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

In addition, the Fused Reality system holds several other distinct advantages over traditional ground-based simulators used to develop and hone advanced flight skills. Even the most cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, full-motion flight simulators are unable to re-create the internal sensations of g-loading and its subtle vestibular effects, airframe buffet cues, or the feel of energy bleed. By taking the simulator aloft, these important perceptual cues are preserved.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020