Honeywell tests new vision system for helos

Oct. 22, 2013 at 1:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Honeywell has completed testing of a system that integrates multiple sensors into its 3D synthetic vision system for safer flight in degraded conditions.

Testing of the Synthetic Vision Avionics Backbone was conducted on a Blackhawk helicopter as part of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Multifunction Radio Frequency program.

The system, the company said, accurately detected obstacles, terrain and power lines, and displayed them in a realistic 3-D view on cockpit displays.

"In addition to giving pilots a dramatic tactical advantage when operating in brownout or whiteout conditions, moving this technology forward means increasing operational safety for our warfighters," said Howard Wiebold, manager of business development, Honeywell. "It increases the number of missions and types of missions commanders can accomplish by simply enabling pilots to fly safely in previously deterred space. "

Degraded visual environment is a challenge for helicopter operations, especially at takeoff and landing. The U.S. military estimates nearly two-thirds of all helicopter accidents can be attributed to loss of situational awareness and the inability to detect obstacles.

"The beauty of the SVAB is that it's 'sensor impartial,' allowing any number of sensors to provide input into the common sensor interface," Wiebold said. "This open approach makes way for an efficient upgrade path, especially while research continues into new and improved sensors for use in degraded visual environment conditions."

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