It’s that wonderful time of year again. That time where drifts of snow gently brush against evergreens, chimneys billowing smoke, and families gathered around the fire sipping cocoa… or well they would be if they weren’t still stuck at the damn airport! Oh yes, the holidays are a season filled with joy, but they almost inevitably are interrupted by two ubiquitously annoying words ‘delayed’ and ‘cancelled.’ I’m driving this year for Christmas, but in years past I too have fallen victim to the weather delays that seem to cripple the airline industry every year around the holidays. It sucks, really. Everyone is in a terrible mood and nobody wants to be there. People are tired, stressed, and at the end of their ropes… it’s kind of like a Walking Dead prequel, complete with zombies; but, Elbit Systems might have the cure to our holiday travel woes.
Elbit Systems, the market leader in enhanced vision systems, recently revealed a new avionics device, Skylens, which is a new HMD for pilots that allows them to see in even the worst weather conditions. The Skylens allows pilots to enhance their vision in three ways, according to Dror Yahav, VP of Elbit’s commercial aviation division. Utilizing a transparent video screen, the system provides a real time image from a high resolution camera “that sees better than your eyes,” symbology – an AR HUD for pilots, and “synthetic vision” in which they “analyze the outside world and create three dimensional imagery.” That last one sounds an awful lot like it could be live virtual reality, like a flight simulator – but in real time and, well, not a simulation. The combination of these three features allow pilots to have the ability to fly, and most importantly land, in almost any weather condition. The device, which recently took home an award for “new product innovation”, is currently undergoing testing for airworthiness and is expected to become available in 2016.
According to Yahav, this device has the potential to save the commercial aviation industry “billions” which could translate to more savings, as well as a better experience for consumers. Honestly, anything that could help clear up the massive airport traffic jam is awesome in my book, the savings would just be a fantastic extra bonus. Travel safe this holiday season, because (surprise!) a winter storm is poised to disrupt travel once again.