Defense giant BAE wants to replace fighter jet controls with augmented reality

bae systems augmented reality planes rs12405 dp068281 lpr
To paraphrase the movie Zoolander, augmented reality (AR) is so hot right now. Used to refer to technology designed for superimposing a computer generated image onto a user’s view of the real world, AR has been leaped on by tech leviathans ranging from Apple to Google — all of whom are convinced that it represents the next frontier for consumer technology.

AR isn’t just considered transformative for regular users, however. United Kingdom defense giant BAE Systems believes that augmented reality has a valuable role to play in the future of combat. BAE is known for its far-out tech concepts, which have ranged from UAVs that can be “grown” using chemistry in large-scale labs to submarines piloted by virtual reality. In a “wearable cockpit” concept unveiled today, BAE’s department of military air and information showed off its ideas for incorporating AR and virtual reality (VR) technology into combat jet cockpits.

This “mixed reality” tech could be used for both training and combat scenarios, with the use of a Striker II full color Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) for projecting augmented and virtual reality displays and controls in front of the pilot’s eyes — entirely replacing the need for physical cockpit layouts.

bae systems augmented reality planes rs20805 future cockpit 1c lpr

“Because the controls and displays are projected onto the helmet display, the technology allows pilots to customize the cockpit display and the way they interact with it based on their own personal preferences and mission objectives,” Suzy Broadbent, human factors lead for cockpits at BAE Systems, told Digital Trends.

“The move away from hard wired controls and displays and into virtual reality is something that has interested us for a while. However, it is only now that the technology is developing enough for us to see it as a definite potential for use in the fast jet domain. The idea is that the pilot can ‘wear the cockpit,’ and the innovations within HMI technologies allows us to provide a variety of methods for the pilot to interact with the system beyond the traditional HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick).”

In addition to this, BAE’s proposed system focuses on “adaptive autonomy,” meaning that it could monitor pilot health and mental workload and, based on its assessments, shift what it is showing to the pilot at any one time. If mental workload becomes too much, the system could allow the aircraft to take over certain tasks the pilot would otherwise manually control.

“This is a technology demonstration concept, but one which is being looked at in research and development terms for potential exploitation on future platforms,” Broadbent continued. “The platforms of the future will be more ‘information heavy’ than ever and, we will therefore need more innovative ways of presenting that information to a pilot to allow them to interact with it.”

Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Emerging Tech

Pepsi, StartRocket team up to launch satellites for energy drink ad in night sky

Pepsi is working with StartRocket to launch an energy drink advertisement into the night sky using miniature satellites. The Russian startup is looking to send its system into orbit in 2021.
Emerging Tech

Watch the huge Stratolaunch plane take to the skies for the very first time

The massive Stratolaunch aircraft -- the world's largest in terms of wingspan -- completed its maiden flight in California on Saturday. The successful outing takes it a step closer to becoming part of a launch system for satellites.
Emerging Tech

New gunfire-detection system alerts police of shooters in seconds, not minutes

The Safe Zone Gunfire Detector is a fast gunfire-detection system that could help avert potential tragedies in public places like schools, malls, or anywhere a mass shooting might occur.
Emerging Tech

NASA chooses a special spot for its next crewed moon landing

Following the U.S. government's announcement last month of a desire to see American astronauts set foot on the moon again in the next five years, NASA has revealed a location on the lunar surface where it would most like to land.
Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Emerging Tech

Adidas has created a running shoe that’s made to be remade

Adidas has unveiled the Futurecraft Loop running shoe that it claims is the first performance footwear to be 100% recyclable. The shoe is the latest green initiative by the sportswear company and will go on sale in 2021.
Emerging Tech

Yale scientists restore cellular activity in a pig’s brain hours after its death

In what some may view as a porcine version of Frankenstein, Yale University scientists have restored circulation and cellular activity in a pig’s brain four hours after its death. The study is likely to be used to study brain function
Emerging Tech

Russia’s robot news anchor gives human TV presenters hope

Human news anchors anxious about robots taking their jobs will be feeling reassured this week after the appearance on Russian TV of a news-reading android that clearly needs a bit of work.
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Emerging Tech

NASA is building an inflatable space robot named King Louie

NASA is funding an inflatable robot called King Louie which could travel to the stars in deflated form and then be blown up when and where required. Here is why that's so exciting.
Emerging Tech

U.S. police are testing out Batman-style bola guns to catch criminals

U.S. police are taking a page out of Batman’s playbook with a new grappling hook gun, called the BolaWrap, which fires out a kevlar cord able to tie up assailants in the blink of an eye.
Emerging Tech

U.S., U.K. embrace autonomous robot spy subs that can stay at sea for months

Unmanned, autonomous robot spy submarines that are able to stay at sea for months at a time may be coming to both the United States and its ally across the pond, the U.K. Here's what we know so far.