Synthetically seeing in zero visibility

  • 30-Jun-2008 06:44 EDT
Terrain-Morphing.jpg
Mercury Computer Systems’ VistaNav Synthetic Vision technology allows pilots in zero-visibility conditions to visualize sensor outputs in an intuitive format.

BAE Systems will be using Mercury Computer Systems’ VistaNav Synthetic Vision technology for a rotorcraft brownout landing system.

Brownout landings are a critical safety issue facing rotorcraft. They can occur when a rotorcraft attempts to land on dusty terrain and the rotors pick up the dust on the ground. As a result, pilots cannot see nearby objects that provide the outside visual references necessary to control the aircraft near the ground during landing and takeoff operations. The patent-pending Synthetic Vision with Real-Time Terrain Morphing Engine from Mercury incorporates terrain sensor measurements that are captured and updated in real time via a standard interface and displayed with Synthetic Vision.

Mercury’s system will be integrated with a radar sensor from BAE Systems. When terrain and obstacles are detected, Mercury’s Synthetic Vision will generate a computerized 3-D terrain map drawn from databases and sensor readings, allowing pilots to see the surrounding terrain and obstacles whether or not they have visibility outside their window.

Flight tests for the rotorcraft brownout landing system are expected to start this year.

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