7D flight control and navigation: The future isn’t rocket science; it’s Hollywood special effects
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Aerospace 4.0 narrative-based integrated flight management are promising completely new levels of navigation accuracy and flight safety, says Dr Donough Wilson.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Aerospace 4.0 narrative-based integrated flight management are promising completely new levels of navigation accuracy and flight safety – and there is no need for GPS or latitude and longitude.
VIVID/futureVision is developing a new solution called 7D Point Cloud navigation.
Dr Donough Wilson, Innovation Lead, VIVID/futureVision, Coventry University TechnoCentre, said: “Latitude and longitude was never really the best solution for aviation navigation. It was developed for sailing ships, and the problem for aviation is that ship navigation is purely two-dimensional: it is surface-based and flat. There is no vertical component.
"But in all controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and loss of control disasters, some form of vertical component forms a core, if not the core, element of the accident."
VIVID/futureVision is now taking CGI technology and techniques and applying it to the problems of aviation navigation.
"It's a completely new and disruptive way of addressing the problem, but with actually very mature technologies: CGI 'Hollywood' special effects and animation," Wilson said.
Digital special effects and CGI artists create a multi-dimensional digital ‘point cloud’ and framework of an entire environment. That environment is created from individual points, surfaces and dynamics.
“We believe that a commercial aircraft [and military mission] route is just such an environment. It has lateral and vertical limits, a protected required trajectory and required dynamics. It is fixed and, within certain parameters, inflexible,” said Wilson.
He added: “Further, with the required dynamics and other flight parameters for the entire route known to the aircraft’s onboard AI and augmented intelligence database, the aircraft itself will know exactly where it should be: it’s speed, altitude, position and configuration for any single point in the flight.”
Wilson said that although 7D Point Cloud navigation can be implemented with any commercial or military platform, it is designed to best work with VIVID/futureVision’s wrap-around, head-up, full-colour, in-screen instrumentation, which does not require any pilot interpretation.
It’s designed so that the aircraft and pilot can work together as one team, delivering complete flight safety (with no risk of human factors pilot error), whatever the in-flight or mission conditions.
“But it’s not just safer,” Wilson noted. “7D Point Cloud delivers the maximum of accuracy – in all parameters – which means it will also deliver the maximum of efficiency and fuel economy with the minimum environmental impact.”