Barco, Saab introduce video HUD

 - March 27, 2009, 10:09 AM

Avionics display provider Barco last month announced the details of an agreement with Saab of Sweden to produce a head-up display for light airplanes and helicopters that replaces traditional overhead HUD technology using a simpler video-camera setup controlled by special software.

The Barco/Saab Rigs HUD is described by the companies as a “new generation head-up display capable of providing a display option that is more cost-efficient than existing HUDs.” The system makes use of Saab’s digital video display technology to project a picture of the view ahead of the aircraft into the pilot’s field of view. Traditional HUD uses expensive collimated display techniques to achieve similar results.

The Barco/Saab Rigs HUD is highly software dependent. Its “brains” will be hosted on Barco’s PU-2000 processing unit with the open MOSArt operating architecture. This software system architecture is intended to allow customers to tailor applications to their specific needs, and to upgrade the system capabilities solely through future software upgrades rather than hardware replacement.

The Rigs HUD can be used for a variety of applications, including military target sighting. In addition, Rigs is being touted for its ability to portray instrument landing system information and images from enhanced-vision sensors. Enhanced-vision lets pilots see through darkness, smog, smoke and various levels of snow, rain and fog, including white/brown-out conditions. It is not clear at this point whether the Rigs HUD/EVS combination would qualify for lower landing minimums as other, more expensive, systems do.