VIDEO: Boeing, University of Central Florida Collaborate On Virtual Co-Pilot Technology

By  //  July 18, 2017

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virtual reality technology streamlines training

ABOVE VIDEO: The virtual co-pilot technology will streamline training and lower costs by eliminating the need for a second person on the flight deck, with the ultimate goal being a mobile package trainees can take home and practice multiple scenarios from the comfort of their living room.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Researchers from the University of Central Florida and The Boeing Company have developed a “virtual co-pilot” to help train new pilots.

Until now, experienced teaching pilots needed to join pilot trainees in simulators.

New virtual reality technology streamlines training and lowers costs by eliminating the need for a second person on the flight deck.

By wearing a virtual reality headset, pilot trainees can see and interact with a 3D virtual co-pilot sitting next to them in the flight deck. The co-pilot – visible only to those wearing the headset – can speak, follow instructions from the trainee and even ask questions.

“The pilot can have the same conversations with the virtual co-pilot as with a real co-pilot,” said David Metcalf, director of Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab (METIL) at UCF’s Institute for Simulation & Training.

“It is very sophisticated, immersive technology.”

Metcalf and his research team collaborated with Boeing for more than a year to develop a co-pilot avatar that’s fully customizable with different genders, cultures and languages.

Researchers from the University of Central Florida and The Boeing Company have developed a “virtual co-pilot” to help train new pilots.

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”We designed the immersive co-pilot so it could take on multiple genders and multiple cultural differences,” said Rob Lechner, chief engineer, Boeing Research & Technology’s Advanced Learning Group.

“That way you can deal with the emotions and communication issues that come up during stressful situations in the flight deck.”

The technology is similar to virtual and augmented reality programs that Metcalf’s team has built for other sectors, including training tools that allow student physicians to interact with lifelike patients, study human anatomy and more.

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