Last December, Airbus applied for patent that was recently made public, in which the windshield in a commercial aircraft is replaced by a digital image that provides a virtual reconstruction of the outside environment.
View: Engineering Newswire 98: Airbus Details Windowless Cockpit of the Future
Specifically, the patent, number US 2014/0180508 A1, describes that, “at least part of said viewing surface for piloting is free of any glazed surface and is formed by display means for a digital image representing at least part of an outside scene comprising the environment of the aircraft extending forward of the aircraft.”
The new cockpit would decrease the plane’s mass, improve the aerodynamics, and increase the payload by allowing the cockpit to be repositioned in an otherwise unused part of the plane, such as the lower part of the vertical tail of the aircraft, or in the hold. (See figures five and six).
The invention is also aimed at increasing safety by “improving the pilot’s perception and awareness of the outside scene forward of the aircraft.”
While traditional cockpits limit the pilot’s view to what is in front of them, this patent would expand the pilot’s range of view. The digital image, which may be on a screen or in the form of a hologram, would be created from video data via on-board cameras around the plane.
In its “preferred” version, the display would use an OLED screen, because of its ability to bend between three and four meters wide – giving the pilot a 180 degree, vertical and horizontal, panoramic view.
“The object of this preferred version is to immerse the pilot in a three-dimensional universe at the center of the action,” according to the patent.
The images could also be enhanced with augmented reality. For example, it would be possible to direct the pilot’s attention to any hazard by “accentuating the outline of the obstacle,” or overlaying a new path the plane should take to avoid the threat. (See figures three and four).
To read the patent in its entirety, visit http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense