International technology company Elbit Systems this week unveiled a new AR pilot helmet for X-Sight military helicopters that uses a combination of refined reality (AR), machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide pilots with the best possible visibility, especially in conditions of reduced visibility. The system is so strong, the company says, that pilots will be able to literally see through a helicopter in flight.
The platform is built around three main components: a head mounted AR display, an AI-controlled computer, and a range of sensors, including Xplore radar, and BrightNite multispectral equipment, which includes daytime and infrared cameras to display thermal imagery.
These sensors are mounted in the nose of helicopters and serve to create a virtual map of the local terrain, including any obstacles such as power lines or antennas. This information is sent to an AI-controlled computer that then combines with pre-entered maps and mission-related data and then displays this combined data on the X-Sight helmet visor.
As pilots fly their route, the AR overlapping display displays important data via a live virtual map, in real time. This includes everything from potential obstacles and threats to essential mission-related information. Pilots can choose from a couple of different display modes, for example displays that fly day and night, landing pad analysis, collision warning, obstacle mapping, and more.
Elbit Systems says this immersive helmet will allow pilots to perform tasks more effectively in worse weather conditions, effectively negating the impact of time on the performance of the task.
“The new helmet allows helicopter pilots to see through the helicopter’s body and provides them with a colored, clean field of vision live, day and night, in demanding conditions of time and visibility,” the company said in a statement.
“These capabilities retrieve the problem of operationally the most demanding challenges of military helicopters – performing low flights during conditions of degraded visibility – and thus significantly increase the framework of operation of military helicopters, turning extreme weather and conditions of degraded visibility into an operational advantage.”
Pictures by Elbit Systems