NBAA Convention News

Rockwell Collins Unveils New Enhanced Vision System

 - October 21, 2013, 5:00 PM
Rockwell Collins is flight testing its Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics suite with touch-screen controls on a Beechcraft King Air 350. It expects to certify the installation next year.

Rockwell Collins is enhancing and expanding its cockpit and cabin systems and introducing a new enhanced-vision system (EVS) at this year’s NBAA show.

The avionics manufacturer (Booth No. C9806) unveiled its EVS-3000, an uncooled, “multispectral” EVS camera system that will be capable of detecting light-emitting diode (LED) runway lights that purely infrared sensors cannot detect. The EVS will be offered with Rockwell Collins’s HGS-3500 “compact” head-up display (HUD) as a future option on Embraer’s new Legacy 450/500 midlight and midsize business jets. The image source of the compact HUD is located above the combiner and uses “substrate-guided optics” to distribute imagery through the glass, eliminating the need for a projector behind the pilot’s head.

With its own enhanced-vision sensor, Rockwell Collins can now offer operators a full HUD package with EVS, which will also be available for head-down displays. The company eventually plans to fuse enhanced and synthetic vision for display to pilots.

“I feel like we are well positioned to do so much more in the heads-up display, situational awareness area,” said Jeff Standerski, Rockwell Collins v-p and general manager for business and regional systems. “While we integrated with other EVS in the past, the missing piece that we had was our own enhanced-vision system. We really felt we needed to round out the portfolio to provide the complete value proposition.”

The Legacy 500 will enter service next year with Rockwell Collins’s Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics suite, which has surpassed its first full year of service on the Bombardier Global 5000/6000 large cabin and Gulfstream G280 super-midsize business jets. Standerski said there have been no extraordinary issues with the system software on jets that have entered service. “It’s normal,” he said. “The software that was certified is meeting the design expectations and the feedback has been very good. Just like any system, we will continue to evolve and introduce new features and functions.”

Pro Line Fusion is in flight test on the Beechcraft King Air turboprop, the new Legacys and the Bombardier CSeries narrowbody airliner. The system is in development on the Learjet 85, the Bombardier Global 7000/8000, the AgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotor, the Mitsubishi MRJ regional jet, the Piaggio Aero multi-role patrol aircraft and the Embraer KC-390 military airlifter.

The advanced avionics system will be offered as a retrofit display option on Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21-equipped King Airs with a new feature: touch-screen control. The company is flight testing Pro Line Fusion with touch screens on its King Air 350 test aircraft and plans to certify the system next year. “To me this is the ultimate simplification of the high-end business jet type of experience,” Standerski said. “This is the start of something [new] for us. We’re going to hit the market and I think it’s going to be very well received.”

New Airshow System

Also at the NBAA show this year, Rockwell Collins is introducing Airshow 500, which it describes as its next-generation 3-D moving-map display system, targeting the light business jet segment. The system will be offered as a lighter-weight drop-in replacement for the analog Airhow 410 system, at a comparable price. It will be available from Rockwell Collins-authorized dealers by the end of the year.

Airshow 500 is compatible with older cabin monitors and newer wide-screen monitors with digital inputs. On aircraft equipped with an onboard wireless access point, it can be used with Rockwell Collins’s Airshow interactive application for the Apple iPad, enabling passengers to display a moving-map from any direction the iPad is pointed. It will include elements of Airshow common to large business jets and airliners, including NASA’s “Blue Marble” satellite imagery, multiple languages and passenger-selectable display settings, Rockwell Collins said.

The company has surpassed 300 installations of its Venue high-definition cabin management and entertainment system. Here in Las Vegas, it is announcing new, wireless AVOD (audio video on demand) capability of the system, allowing passengers to share digital media on cabin displays or personal devices such as Android, Apple or Kindle products. The capability can be added to Venue systems that are equipped with a wireless router through a software upgrade.

Rockwell Collins is also announcing the opening of a new customer support center in its home city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with expanded hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time, seven days a week) and staffing. The goal of the support center is to resolve technical issues within 24 hours.