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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.
If the plane gets too close to the ground, or an obstacle appears, the landscape turns red, signaling imminent danger. This is akin to RAAS, which uses red and an audio alert sound to signal danger. You can see a color representation of the old system in the lower right-hand corner of the image here. SVS is not designed to replace the existing 2D system but to assist pilots when flying in zero-visibility conditions.