4 June 2013 The use of optical waveguides in head up display (HUD) applications
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Abstract
The application of optical waveguides to Head Up Displays (HUD) is an enabling technology which solves the critical issues of volume reduction (including cockpit intrusion) and mass reduction in an affordable product which retains the high performance optical capabilities associated with today’s generation of digital display based HUDs. Improved operability and pilot comfort is achieved regardless of the installation by virtue of the intrinsic properties of optical waveguides and this has enabled BAE Systems Electronic Systems to develop two distinct product streams for glareshield and overhead HUD installations respectively. This paper addresses the design drivers behind the development of the next generation of Head Up Displays and their compatibility with evolving cockpit architectures and structures. The implementation of large scale optical waveguide combiners capable of matching and exceeding the display performances normally only associated with current digital display sourced HUDs has enabled BAE Systems Electronic Systems to solve the volume and installation challenges of the latest military and civil cockpits with it’s LiteHUD® technology. Glareshield mounted waveguide based HUDs are compatible with the trend towards the addition of Large Area Displays (LAD) in place of the traditional multiple Head Down Displays (HDD) within military fast jet cockpits. They use an “indirect view” variant of the display which allows the amalgamation of high resolution digital display devices with the inherently small volume and low mass of the waveguide optics. This is then viewed using the more traditional technology of a conventional HUD combiner. This successful combination of technologies has resulted in the LPHUD product which is specifically designed by BAE Systems Electronic Systems to provide an ultra-low profile HUD which can be installed behind a LAD; still providing the level of performance that is at least equivalent to that of a conventional large volume glareshield mounted HUD. In many current Business Jet and Air Transport cockpits overhead mounted HUDs employ a conventional optical combiner to relay the display from a separate projector to the pilot’s eyes. In BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems QHUDTM configuration this combiner is replaced by the waveguide and the bulky, intrusive overhead projector completely eliminated. The result is a significant reduction in equipment volume and mass and a much greater head clearance combined with a substantially larger Head Motion Box. This latter feature is a fundamental outturn of waveguide optical solutions which removes the restrictions on pilot eye positioning associated with current conventional systems. LiteHUD®, developed by BAE Systems, Electronic Systems achieves equivalent optical performance to in-service HUDs for less cost, mass and volume.
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Malcolm Homan, Malcolm Homan, } "The use of optical waveguides in head up display (HUD) applications", Proc. SPIE 8736, Display Technologies and Applications for Defense, Security, and Avionics VII, 87360E (4 June 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2014513; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2014513
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