It happened on the ground.
Runway incursions and taxiway safety may not sound like much, but are in fact very important for avoiding accidents. Live Science explains the exciting new solution that NASA is developing for the commercial aviation industry.
What began as a ten pound head-worn display for the US military, has evolved to a much lighter pair of glasses for airline pilots. The virtual display is shown over one eye, while the other eye has a visual of the actual airport. The virtual display is created from data aggregated from known airport dimensions, the aircraft’s location in relation to the various taxiways, and the aircraft’s readings i.e. airspeed and altitude.
These glasses help with impaired vision from weather such as fog, snow, rain, etc. A foggy day was the cause of the most fatal air disaster in history.
This technology is ground breaking in its ability to layer the pilot’s actual vision with the virtual vision. The HUDs that are currently in newer commercial aircraft are on a separate screen, so the pilot cannot view actual and virtual vision at the same time. This “augmented reality” even adjusts as the pilot moves their head from side to side. As this technology matures and advances, it will be exciting to see it enter the commercial airline industry!