Virtual reality system will replace the controls of combat fighters

The British company BAE Systems, engaged in technologies in the field of weapons, information security, and aerospace sector, is going to develop the cockpit of a fighter of new generation, where the usual controls are replaced with a virtual reality system integrated in the pilot helmet. This “nasimiyu cockpit” (cockpit wearable) will operate on the basis of artificial intelligence, and also tracking eye movements, allowing the pilot to control the fighting machine look and system gestures.

The idea of BAE Systems is that a complex set of knobs, switches and buttons, which is normally present in any cockpit, in the sixth generation of fighter jets will be replaced by a clean black plastic panel with some of the most important indicators and controls.

The system will operate in the working state as soon as the pilot will wear and will include a virtual reality helmet. On dark panels, as well as on the glass of the helmet will immediately be projected all the necessary controls of the aircraft and its weapons. In this system it is proposed to make very flexible in terms of settings: if desired, the location of all virtual elements can be changed as easily as it is done on screen of conventional smartphone.

“As for future concepts, we are examining the possibility of developing so-called “wearable cockpit”. With this technology, from the cockpit, you can remove many physical elements that complicate the management of a war machine, and notice their virtual displays, which will be projected through the helmet of the pilot. Of course, this software is the cockpit, it will be possible, over time, to update, to adapt to certain tasks, and to reconfigure at its discretion,” — says leading technologist of the company BAE Systems Jean Paige.

Such a system could become part of a new concept fighting the British Tempest fighter, so it will be possible to achieve several advantages. In particular, a smaller set of physical elements inside the cabin means less cost used when creating aircraft materials, less weight and lower cost of production and maintenance of combat vehicles. In addition, the control system of virtual reality can be easily customized to a particular combat mission.

Since the virtual control system will use artificial intelligence, it can learn in the future, simplifying the work of engineers who will be able to make it more effective. For example, in situations where the pilot will often have to look to the right, the system makes sure that important information is not issued at this point in the left corner of sight. Because of this, the pilot will be able to receive the information and respond as needed.

“Real useful feature of the system will be that depending on the location and objectives, the smart system can be used to provide the necessary level of support and reduce the workload on the person. We want to find a balance between the requests of the system to perform certain commands as well as the autonomy of her work. The constant reference for authorization of the action can be annoying. At the same time, the pilot will always be calmer when he knows what task is performed by a system in a particular point in time,” adds Paige.

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