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Proceedings Paper

Helicopter synthetic vision based DVE processing for all phases of flight
Author(s): Patrick O'Brien; David C. Baughman; H. Bruce Wallace
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Paper Abstract

Helicopters experience nearly 10 times the accident rate of fixed wing platforms, due largely to the nature of their mission, frequently requiring operations in close proximity to terrain and obstacles. Degraded visual environments (DVE), including brownout or whiteout conditions generated by rotor downwash, result in loss of situational awareness during the most critical phase of flight, and contribute significantly to this accident rate. Considerable research into sensor and system solutions to address DVE has been conducted in recent years; however, the promise of a Synthetic Vision Avionics Backbone (SVAB) extends far beyond DVE, enabling improved situational awareness and mission effectiveness during all phases of flight and in all visibility conditions. The SVAB fuses sensor information with high resolution terrain databases and renders it in synthetic vision format for display to the crew. Honeywell was awarded the DARPA MFRF Technical Area 2 contract in 2011 to develop an SVAB1. This work includes creation of a common sensor interface, development of SVAB hardware and software, and flight demonstration on a Black Hawk helicopter. A “sensor agnostic” SVAB allows platform and mission diversity with efficient upgrade path, even while research continues into new and improved sensors for use in DVE conditions. Through careful integration of multiple sources of information such as sensors, terrain and obstacle databases, mission planning information, and aircraft state information, operations in all conditions and phases of flight can be enhanced. This paper describes the SVAB and its functionality resulting from the DARPA contract as well as Honeywell RD investment.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 May 2013
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8737, Degraded Visual Environments: Enhanced, Synthetic, and External Vision Solutions 2013, 873706 (16 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2016555
Show Author Affiliations
Patrick O'Brien, Honeywell International (United States)
David C. Baughman, Honeywell International (United States)
H. Bruce Wallace, DARPA (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8737:
Degraded Visual Environments: Enhanced, Synthetic, and External Vision Solutions 2013
Kenneth L. Bernier; Jeff J. Güell, Editor(s)

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