Indra promotes augmented reality in aviation through the development of a cutting-edge solution based on Microsoft HoloLens glasses. The goal is to improve the design of air routes, reducing fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and costs for airlines, while helping to minimize the noise impact on nearby urban areas at airports.
As a possible first implementation of this technology, Indra has chosen a real project as a case study. This is the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport in London. The objective is to develop a tool capable of facilitating the final approach of the aircraft, in order to obtain landings and takeoffs with a limited fuel consumption and lower noise for the nearby population. In order to ensure the accuracy of calculations, Indra has used real data provided by Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation.
The solution takes advantage of the possibilities offered by mixed reality, which combines the virtual and real worlds, enabling their interaction in real time. Through the Microsoft HoloLens glasses, the user sees takeoffs and landings of aircraft on the future runway at Heathrow, while the holographic images are projected directly onto the surrounding physical space.
The Indra solution also allows you to see the 3D graphical representation of the aircraft routes and presents the user with the data tags on routes, aircraft, speed, height, etc. When the aircraft is approaching, the noise of the engines increases, allowing an acoustic environmental impact volumetric representation.
You can move and approach the aircraft to see them in greater detail. Turning around, you can see the runways and nearby urban areas. The system allows you to interact with the virtual world, and to amend, for example, the aircraft routes, in order to study alternative routes. Using voice commands, you can ask the system to achieve a zoom lens, to project another route and to show another plane.
The future of mixed reality
The Indra’s solution will provide short-term other applications for the air traffic market. The areas of use there will be improvements in the areas of design which divides the airspace of a country or region, and the study of the routes that cross it (complex three-dimensional information that can not be properly represented on a 2D screen). In addition, the solution will help to improve the design and expansion of airports, allowing engineers to select the best location for the slopes and ensuring that the control tower did not blind spots.
Among the advantages that offer the mixed reality and Microsoft HoloLens, it emerges the fact that the user sees a virtual scenario without being isolated, as occurs with conventional 3D glasses. This allows it to continue its work while receiving additional information that they overlap and interact with what he sees in the real world.
In this way, different people can analyze the same virtual scenario in a working meeting could also interact naturally with each other. The development of this technology it provides for the use in critical operational activities, for example in the support to the controller, with the aim of providing real information on the plane which sees from the tower. In a control center, it could improve the joint decision-making between the controllers that are located in the same center and the controllers who work from hundreds of kilometers away centers.
Beyond the air traffic sector, the potential of this technology in improving communications, information access and cost savings is enormous. It will be important contribution to maintenance activities to allow an operator to view the electrical installation layout of a building or water system under a road. In addition, it will allow you to share what you see with another person in a different place.
In the field of flight simulation, the system could replace all the visual component of a simulator, reducing costs. In healthcare, it could be used to help surgeons to plan operations and will enable the exchange of clinical options between different hospitals team.
A global leader in air traffic management
Indra is a global leader in air traffic management which has supplied its systems to 160 countries. Its technology has supported more than 100 million landings worldwide.
Indra is one of the companies that has more weight in the SESAR technology program that supports the creation of the Single European Sky. In addition, the company is installing the iTEC system in major European control centers driving the transformation and modernization of air traffic management in Europe.
Noteworthy is also the continuous effort in R & D, which results in the development of solutions such as the iTECiCWP, a workstation control plane that has revolutionized the way in which the controller displays the information of air navigation and interaction with iTEC system.