Could Wearable Technology and Virtual Cockpits Become the Future of Aviation?
Thursday, February 5, 2015.
A partnership between Vuzix Corporation and HeadApp has produced an application for pilots that connects WiFly (an integrated system that collects and communicates every significant aircraft and flight data item in real time), with Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses, to create a Virtual Glass Cockpit.
The solution, named Glass4Flight, is the first multimedia glasses application dedicated to the aeronautic industry and will deliver fully augmented user experience for pilots whilst flying.
The application, developed by Eco-Mind and DigiSky, displays critical information to users, including heading, aircraft speed, aircraft altitude, flight time, flight level, route information, traffic avoidance information, estimated time at next waypoint and much more. As a result, virtual information can be easily accessed, and switched between one digital panel to another, with a simple gesture from the device.
Glass4Flight, which extracts data from WiFly has audio/video capabilities that allow the pilot to remain hands-free, with the ability to receive all the information from the instruments at a quick glance. This enables the pilot to devote their attention on the flight and not the cockpit instruments, with the potential to improve concentration, decision making, reaction times and safety as a result. This type of mobility could be an invaluable addition to flight equipment in the future, saving airlines significantly on costs.
Vuzix and HeadApp believe that adoption of the Glass4Flight with M100 Smart Glasses will directly address the problem of pilots with ‘busy hands and eyes.’
The solution enables hands-free operation, which also improves efficiency, and effectiveness, allowing the pilot to perform their job to the highest level. Testing of Glass4Flight with Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses is taking place in Italy in collaboration with the local Aero Club, and is in its final stages of testing. Fifteen planes equipped with the Glass4Flight ‘Vuzix-ready’ app were used in the testing phase.
"Creating a solution for the aviation industry isn't an easy task, and collecting and using the data is one of the biggest technological challenges the industry faces. But with a dedicated team with many years experience in innovative technologies, business and aviation and, partnering with Vuzix' great products, we were able to make this solution possible," said Fabio Chinaglia, Founder and CEO of HeadApp.
"We are pleased to begin this program with the help of Vuzix," continued Chinaglia. "Once we got our hands on the M100, we knew this was going to be our primary device. The M100 Smart Glasses offer an amazing user experience for the pilot, much better than using any other kind of glasses, and we are excited about the real work application."
Paul Travers, President and CEO of Vuzix, said, "Vuzix isn't new to the aviation industry, but this is the first time that we looked at a project with the pilot in mind, as opposed to engineers and airline crew. We have worked closely with HeadApp with a focus towards the private aviator."
What we have seen so far has been quite eye-opening, and the potential for our M100 with regard for the pilot program gives us a lot of possibilities. During the further testing phases, we will look at new opportunities to embark on."
The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses are the world's first commercially available hands free display and wearable computer designed for the enterprise users. The M100 contains an innovative virtual display with an integrated camera, and a powerful processing engine, running the Android OS to wirelessly connect via Bluetooth or WiFi directly to most standard networks, or to a smartphone or other compatible mobile device.