Posted by John McHalePARIS, 24 June 2011. Engineers at Thales are improving helicopter pilot situational awareness on their TopOwl Helmet Mounted Sight Display (HMSD) by adding augmented reality, which will aid in low visibility conditions. The augmented reality tool projects information such as such as synthetic environment views right in front of the pilot's eyes, though TopOwl's fully overlapped 40-degree field of view.The synthetic view is generated in real time and superimposed on the actual terrain vision, drawing on information from integrated databases, GPS helicopter position and heading data, and TopOwl's Pilot's Line of Sight (LoS) measurement.The 3D Synthetic Vision System imaging (SVS) will give the crew a virtual representation of the world around the helicopter in bad weather, brownout, or whiteout conditions, where pilots are no longer able to view the ground from the air due to dust, sand storms, or snow. Detected obstacles can also be displayed in augmented reality, if the helicopter is equipped with an obstacle warning system. The TopOwl offers conformal piloting symbology, dark night vision performance, and targeting. TopOwl systems onboard Tiger and Huey UH-1Y helicopters have been used by French and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.