The LuFo V project "AVATAR – Efficient High-Performance Avionics Platforms for Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing Aircraft" began in January 2016. A consortium composed of partners from industry and science is concerned, amongst other things, with evaluating future display technologies and display formats for fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. The consortium is led by Diehl Aerospace GmbH.
In AVATAR, DLR's Institute of Flight Guidance is developing and testing, in collaboration with the project partners, display and operation concepts for future industrial avionics platforms. The project will evaluate and demonstrate potential future cockpit display systems (CDS). In this regard, the Institute will concentrate on flight guidance displays which are new or which have undergone further development for demanding missions and operations offshore with rotary wing aircraft. Flight guidance displays should on the one hand reduce the workload on helicopter pilots and on the other increase situational awareness and thus safety. In order to achieve this, the Institute will analyse the particular tasks and duties of rotary wing aircraft in offshore operations, evaluate the relevant information and data and develop new display formats accordingly, finally evaluating them in the generic cockpit simulator (GECO).
As well as the analysis of the particular operational and environmental requirements for offshore operations, the simulation of sensor data and their fusion with geo-referenced data is another area on which DLR is focusing as part of the AVATAR project. Rotary wing aircraft rely heavily on valid, up-to-date terrain and obstacle data because they frequently operate close to the ground and with limited visibility. The sensor data from sensors suitable for this context will be calculated and fused with the geo-referenced terrain and obstacle data using the flexible sensor simulation suite (F3S) developed by the Institute. The geo-referenced data will be provided by an industrial database platform.
Current flight guidance displays for offshore use with rotary wing aircraft are being developed further with the use of simulated and fused sensor data. As part of this development, the helmet-mounted display and visual system JEDEYE will be used alongside "head-down" cockpit displays. The advantage of this system is that information is displayed in a transparent visor and made available to the pilot whilst he is looking at the surroundings inside and outside the helicopter. Displaying additional information increases the pilot's situational awareness and at the same time reduces his workload. The challenge here is to ensure that the information presented in the overlaid display does not hamper the pilot's view of the surroundings. Another challenge lies in generating a display format for the helmet-mounted display system which conforms to the outside view with the graphics hardware which is as yet to be developed. As well as the highly dynamic movements of the helicopter, the mobility of the helmet-mounted display system caused by the pilot's head movements is a significant factor affecting the performance of the graphics platform.
As a whole, AVATAR is intended to demonstrate how future industrial avionics platforms with advanced new display concepts from the research domain are increasing the performance and efficiency of rotary wing aircraft. It is also DLR's intention to increase the safety and feasibility of missions carried out by rotary wing aircraft currently in service through the use of new and improved display formats which conform with the outside view