The Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck (IIFD) project, part of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program (AvSP), comprises a multi-disciplinary research effort to develop flight deck technologies that mitigate operator-, automation-, and environment-induced hazards. Toward this objective, the IIFD project is developing crew/vehicle interface technologies that reduce the propensity for pilot error, minimize the risks associated with pilot error, and proactively overcome aircraft safety barriers that would otherwise constrain the next full realization of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Part of this research effort involves the use of synthetic and enhanced vision systems and advanced display media as enabling crew-vehicle interface technologies to meet these safety challenges.
Experiments and flight tests have shown that a head-up display (HUD) and a head-down electronic moving map (EMM) can be enhanced with synthetic vision for airport ground operations. While great success in ground operations was demonstrated with a HUD, the research noted that two major HUD limitations during ground operations were its monochrome form and limited, fixed field-of-regard. A potential solution to these limitations found with HUDs may be emerging with head-worn displays (HWDs).
HWDs are small display devices that may be worn without significant encumbrance by the user. Due to component miniaturization and technology maturation, these small, lightweight, full-color display devices can be as unobtrusive in use as a pilot wearing sunglasses. By coupling the HWD with a head tracker, unlimited field-of-regard may be realized. Three ground simulation experiments were conducted at NASA Langley to evaluate the efficacy of HWD applications of synthetic vision and enhanced vision technology to improve transport aircraft ground operations. The results of these experiments showed that the fully integrated HWD provided greater pilot performance with respect to staying on the path, compared to using paper charts alone. Further, when comparing the HWD with the HUD concept, there were no differences in path performance. In addition, the HWD and HUD concepts were rated as the same via paired-comparisons in terms of situation awareness and workload.
This work was done by Jarvis J. Arthur III, Lawrence J. Prinzel III, Randall E. Bailey, Kevin J. Shelton, Steven P. Williams, Lynda J. Kramer, and Robert M. Norman of Langley Research Center. LAR-17290-1