Lidar, computer simulation blend in avionics to help helicopter pilots land safely in dust

By John Keller

OTTAWA – Helicopter avionics specialists at two Canadian aerospace companies are blending lidar technology and computer simulation to create a virtual environment for aircraft avionics to enable pilots to land safely in zero-visibility dust, smoke, and fog–especially at night.

Lidar stands for light direction and ranging, and uses infrared laser beams as primary sensors for image capture of the surrounding area. This technology also is referred to as ladar, which is short for laser radar. Neptec’s military avionics technology is called OPAL, which is short for obscurant-penetrating autosynchronous lidar.


A U.S. Army UH-1 helicopter lands at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., to demonstrate how laser radar can penetrate zero-visibility conditions to help helicopter pilots land in dust.
Click here to enlarge image

Engineers at the Neptec Design Group in Ottawa and CAE in Montreal are using military laser technology to create imagery of visually obscured areas, which they overlay with terrain database information designed for military training and simulation to create an enhanced, computer-generated out-the-window view that is updated in real time to help helicopter pilots land where dust, smoke, fog, or other obscurants blot out the pilot’s view of the outside.

“Landing helicopters in brown-out conditions is the major application for this technology,” explains Neptec President Dr. Ian Christie. “This could help alleviate operational constraints where pilots can’t land in dusty areas at night. Lidar sees as well at night as it does during the day.”

CAE and Neptec demonstrated the OPAL sensor integrated into the CAE Augmented Visionics System (AVS) at the Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. when they penetrated dust clouds generated by a UH-1 test helicopter. The system helped pilots see through brownout conditions opaque to the human eye to differentiate between rocks, bushes, sloping terrain, utility poles, ground vehicles, and wires at distances greater than 200 meters.


This CAE computer simulation helps illustrate the challenges of landing helicopters in extremely dusty conditions.
Click here to enlarge image

“Our job is to have a very efficient sensor system for the CAE AVS with updates to the database that it uses to create the simulated environment,” Neptec’s Christie explains. “Pilots need to find out how different the landing zone is from what the system thinks it is. Combine the sensor and simulation and you have a very accurate synthetic environment.”

The CAE AVS combines OPAL with other sensors such as forward-looking infrared (FLIR). Sensor information blends with the CAE-developed common database (CDB), originally developed for U.S. Special Operations Command.

Further development of the AVS technology is part of CAE’s Project Falcon research and development to expand modeling and simulation technologies and develop new applications. Visit Neptec online at www.neptec.com, or CAE at www.cae.com.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Featured Slideshow

Evolution of the American soldier

The American soldier has come a long way since the beginning of the Republic 237 years ago. While uniforms for early soldiers were based on cost and utility, soldiers' clothing eventually considered ballistic protection, increasing storage space, protection from poison gas and other contaminants.

Related Products

F-SIM-LDR ARINC 615A Data Loader

AIT's F-SIM-LDR, or Flight Simulyzer Loader, is a complete ARINC-615A Data Loader development kit...

cPCI-1760-SW-4

AceXtreme® Bridge Device - Smart Protocol Converter

DDC’s AceXtreme Bridge Device converts avionics messages in real time between Ethernet, MIL-STD-1...

Related Companies

CES - Creative Electronic Systems SA

Has been designing and manufacturing complex high-performance avionics, defense and communication boards, subsystems ...

Boker's Inc

Boker's, Inc. can manufacture your flat washers, spacers and shims with an outside diameter from 0.080" to 12" and ma...

DLS Electronic Systems Inc

Provides EMC/EMI & Environmental testing to MIL-STD 461-A-F, MIL-STD 810 & RTCA DO-160-C-G, Boeing, Airbus FAA AC20-1...
Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

On Demand Webcasts

Engineering the VPX high-speed data path for physical and signal integrity

Join Arrow Electronics and TE Connectivity, for an overview webinar of the standards, technologies and trends involving VITA and TE.

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE