New AirVenture exhibitor Aero Glass (Hangar A, Booth 1110) is developing an augmented reality environment that will allow pilots to “see” terrain, navigation, ADS-B traffic, weather and airspace constraints on wearable devices such as Google Glass, Epson Moverio and other head-mounted type displays. The company is seeking beta testers to help refine the software’s features. The first 200 to sign up will receive a lifetime license for the Aero Glass program; the company also is offering special discounts on the devices during the show. According to the signup webpage for the beta test program, cost for the device and software will be less than $1,000.
Scheduled for release in the third quarter of this year, Aero Glass offers much more than a replication of typical aviation data on an eye-level display. Unlike a fixed-mount head-up display (HUD), which is oriented toward the front of the aircraft, Aero Glass is more like a military helmet-mounted display that works no matter where the pilot is looking. Aero Glass also can display any kind of data, including elements that are dependent on where the pilot is looking.
For example, inside the cockpit the pilot can complete checklists while looking through Aero Glass. The Aero Glass display can paint a colored circle around switches or instruments that need to be checked or selected. It also can replicate a synthetic-vision display, but this display could show the outside world as viewed at any angle, say, down through the bottom of the aircraft, much like one of the very expensive features on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s helmet display. Traffic display is more realistic and shows other aircraft in a more natural framework rather than as target diamonds on a panel display or tablet computer screen.
One of the neatest Aero Glass features is its airspace presentation. What looks like a restricted area appears in the display as an impenetrable red wall, and it’s easy to see the boundaries as they relate to the terrain. Terrain display is also compelling, but what is unusual about Aero Glass is not having to look at the instrument panel or at a tablet, it’s all right there in front of the pilot’s eyes.
Portable AHRS manufacturer Levil Technology is a technology partner on the Aero Glass program. “The fact that this information is now available in the pilots’ line of sight is simply breathtaking,” said Levil general manager Ananda Leon. “Aero Glass unlocks unexplored opportunities in head-up technology for GA and takes your flying experience to the next level.”
Aero Glass vice president of business development Cameron Clarke said, “Our community of Pioneer Program beta testers will work together through an online forum to create the final product, which will provide feedback and special features of interest as part of this program, leading to safer skies for all aviators as they navigate the skies easily in any visibility.”