Augmented Reality for Pilots

by Guy Frum

Augmented Reality Boosts Air Safety for Pilots

Although they had no idea that the time, computer enthusiasts dating back as far as the Apple II machines of the late 1970s were involved in testing and pushing forward some of the first versions of immersive technology when they tried out the first version of “FS1 Flight Simulator”, which put users in a moderate resolution version of the cockpit of a Sopwith Camel and gave them an early test flight of the British World War I biplane fighter made famous rather ironically by Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s loyal beagle in the comic strip “Peanuts.” The game had legs despite how uncommon computers in general were back in those days, and continued to expand and be reshaped by every new computer that came down the pipe, from IBM to Amiga to Tandy and ultimately to Microsoft.

Amazingly, it has stood the test of time with the latest version released in 2020 - making it one of the oldest still-running video games in human history. 
While many people have lived out their flights of fantasy in front of a TV or computer monitor, Airfield Automation is delivering a new augmented reality product that will help real pilots operate at a new level of safety when they are cruising the skies. 

The Problem with Misfueling

If you have had a driver’s license for long enough or you have ever driven in a foreign country, at some point you have likely looked at the gas tank and the pump at the station and realized you are putting super unleaded into your unleaded tank, or God forbid even diesel or E85.
In a car on the road, the wrong type of gasoline can mean a few hundred dollars at the mechanic’s shop if you’re unlucky, but it isn’t likely to be the worst thing ever.
The same cannot be said for a ground crew refueling a small aircraft. The wrong fuel grade might not keep the plane on the ground, but it can have fatal repercussions once the plane is airborne, costing the lives of those in the aircraft and more on the ground in the event of a crash.

That’s where Air bp comes in.

It’s the aviation division of British petroleum and among the world’s leading suppliers when it comes to products and services for aviation fuel.
The company has found a solution to perhaps wipe out misfueling problems forever through the use of augmented reality (AR) technology.
Instead of using operational procedures to ensure that the right fuel goes in the right plane, the company has created the Airfield Automation safe2go using computer vision to recognize fuel-grad decals that are placed next to the fuel tank of each aircraft.
The solution allows an upgrade in matching fuel type to fuel without fundamentally changing the way the planes are made or how the fuel is distributed to them. Working together with AR tech provider Wikitude, the prototype device has been used in more than 40 airports around the world with rave reviews - no mixups in more than 12,500 fuelings per week.