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28 January 2019 Virtual Cockpit: an immersive head-worn display as human–machine interface for helicopter operations
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Increasing the pilot’s situational awareness is a major goal for the design of next-generation aircraft cockpits. A fundamental problem is posed by the pilot’s out-the-window view, which is often degraded due to adverse weather, darkness, or the aircraft structure itself. A common approach to this problem is to generate an enhanced model of the surroundings via aircraft-mounted sensors and databases containing terrain and obstacle information. In the helicopter domain, the resulting picture of the environment is then presented to the pilot either via a panel-mounted display or via a see-through head-worn display. We investigate a third method for information display. The concept—called Virtual Cockpit—applies a nonsee-through head-worn display. With such a virtual reality display, advantages of established synthetic and enhanced vision systems can be combined while existing limitations can be overcome. In addition to a theoretical discussion of advantages and drawbacks, two practical implementation examples of this concept are shown for helicopter offshore operations. Two human factors studies were conducted in a simulation environment based on the game engine Unity. They prove the general potential of the Virtual Cockpit to become a candidate for a future cockpit in the long term.
© 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) 0091-3286/2019/$25.00 © 2019 SPIE
Johannes Maria Ernst, Niklas Peinecke, Lars Ebrecht, Sven Schmerwitz, and Hans-Ullrich Doehler "Virtual Cockpit: an immersive head-worn display as human–machine interface for helicopter operations," Optical Engineering 58(5), 051807 (28 January 2019).
Received: 1 October 2018; Accepted: 3 January 2019; Published: 28 January 2019

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