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Honeywell in action
Pilots learn to fly by looking out of the window, but what happens when the window is surrounded by fog or a sandstorm? They rely on computers to guide them, of course. But the navigation systems most pilots use today leave something to be desired.
Manufacturing giant Honeywell has developed a new safety system to show the pilot where the plane is in the sky when visibility is low and, more importantly, whether it's about to crash into anything. Silicon.com recently got to see the new system in action on a test flight in a private plane.
The black screen on the right shows the Remote Access Aviation System (RAAS) pilots currently use to fly in low-visibility conditions. It provides a 2D representation of the area surrounding the plane and, using a terrain database, alerts the pilot if the plane is too close to the ground or any obstacles. On the left is Honeywell's new 3D system, the Synthetic Vision System (SVS).
SVSThe SVS uses a terrain database, high-resolution display and the Global Positioning System (GPS) to create a 3D model of what the pilot would be able to see out of the window in clear conditions. As Sergio Cecutta, Honeywell displays and business product manager, explained: "This system brings back the view so it's intuitive for the pilot to fly."
The system also provides on screen a host of other information, including the aircraft's speed, height and desired destination so there's little chance of landing on the wrong airfield or runway (a common mistake when even the nose of the plane is not visible). SVS leaves out the finer details so the pilot can focus on the important aspects of the landscape and will not be distracted by, say, a nice sunset.