Civilian airline pilots flying through fog or other limited visibility conditions will soon be able to benefit from an optical system designed by Israeli defense industry leader Elbit Systems, according to a report on Channel 2 news.
Normally, when flying through fog or smoke, pilots must rely on instruments alone as vision is severely reduced.
Elbit’s new system uses special cameras to analyze various wavelengths of light, then chooses and combines them with “synthetic vision” based on databases of terrain and infrastructure, into an image that will give the pilot the best visibility of the way ahead.
The image is then projected directly over the pilot’s eyes on a wearable heads-up display — basically a set of fancy goggles — allowing the pilots to fly the plane as if they were seeing through the inclement weather.
Projecting information directly over the pilots’ eyes allows users to turn their heads and get real time pictures to their left and right. More traditional heads-up display technologies project an image on a visor or windshield and can be more restrictive.
The system was originally developed for military purposes, but is now being converted for use by civilian aviation.