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Creating a Virtual Helicopter Cockpit with an Immersive Head-Mounted Display

Ernst, Johannes Maria (2023) Creating a Virtual Helicopter Cockpit with an Immersive Head-Mounted Display. Dissertation, TU Braunschweig.

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Degraded outside vision — through adverse environmental conditions, aircraft-induced, or operation-specific — poses a major challenge for helicopter pilots, especially during operations close to the ground and obstacles. Motivated by the recent technological advancements of head-mounted displays (HMD), this dissertation explores how such modern display devices can overcome the limitations of existing display solutions and thereby improve the pilots' situation awareness and increase flight safety. What sets this work apart from existing research is that it explicitly considers non-see-through HMDs besides the established see-through devices. Based on an extensive review of current HMD technologies and state-of-the-art aircraft vision systems, the dissertation devises a conceptual framework for next-generation flight decks called the virtual cockpit continuum. It describes different degrees of cockpit virtualization — from a conventional flight deck via several partially virtual variants to a fully virtual cockpit. In a partially virtual cockpit, parts of the natural out-the-window view and the flight deck itself are augmented by computer-generated HMD symbology. In a fully virtual cockpit, the whole out-the-window view as well as the flight deck instruments are entirely replaced by a virtual view through the HMD. Depending on the level of virtualization, this is achieved with optical see-through, video-see-through, or non-see-through HMDs. The dissertation analyzes the potentials and challenges of such an approach and then implements both a partially and a fully virtual cockpit for helicopter offshore operations. Four pilot-in-the-loop studies confirm the great potential of the developed virtual cockpit implementations. Virtual instruments presented on a see-through HMD appear to be a promising near-/mid-term solution that can increase “head-up, eyes-out” time and promotes the creation of a task-adaptable cockpit. A fully virtual cockpit with an enhanced exocentric view was found to improve the pilots' spatial awareness and hover precision in confined area operations. In summary, the author recommends to continue the exploration of this topic and provides a thorough discussion of research questions that need to be addressed.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/200023/
Document Type:Thesis (Dissertation)
Title:Creating a Virtual Helicopter Cockpit with an Immersive Head-Mounted Display
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Ernst, Johannes MariaUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8238-3671UNSPECIFIED
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Virtual Cockpit, Head-Mounted Display, Head-Worn Display, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Degraded Visual Environment, Helicopter Offshore Operations, Synthetic Vision System, Enhanced Vision System, Combined Vision System, Human Factors
Institution:TU Braunschweig
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AI - Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Integrated Flight Guidance
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Flight Guidance > Pilot Assistance
Deposited By: Ernst, Johannes Maria
Deposited On:30 Nov 2023 10:13
Last Modified:30 Nov 2023 10:13

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