CAE and Neptec successfully demonstrate AVS technology to address brownout
CAE and Neptec Design Group today announced the successful demonstration of Neptec's Obscurant Penetrating Autosynchronous LIDAR (OPAL) sensor that is integrated into CAE's Augmented Visionics System (AVS). CAE's AVS solution is being developed to enable helicopter pilots to operate safely in the most extreme conditions, including landing in brownouts when dust recirculation caused by rotor downwash obscures the pilot's view during critical maneuvering operations at very low altitudes.
During recent testing at the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona, Neptec's OPAL was used to successfully penetrate dust clouds generated by the UH-1 test helicopter. More importantly, OPAL could "see through" brownout conditions opaque to the human eye to easily differentiate between rocks, bushes, sloping terrain, utility poles, ground vehicles, and wires at distances greater than 200 meters. The high-resolution detail returned by OPAL provides situational awareness critical to helicopter pilots when attempting to land in near-zero visibility conditions.
CAE's AVS solution combines Neptec's OPAL as well as other sensors such as forward-looking infrared (FLIR) with the CAE-developed common database (CDB), which was originally developed for the United States Special Operations Command to support rapid, correlated database production. The fundamental concept for CAE's AVS solution is to take OPAL's 3D sensor data and update the CDB for real-time processing of a synthetic image showing the area surrounding the helicopter, including terrain and potential obstacles.
"CAE is best known for the development of high-fidelity synthetic environments created for use in full-mission simulators used for training and mission rehearsal exercises," said Adolfo Klassen, CAE's Chief Technology Officer. "Our AVS technology development is an innovative application of our synthetic environment expertise that brings a high-fidelity synthetic image into the cockpit in real-time to address all operations in degraded visibility."
"We are excited to work with a global leader such as CAE. This partnership is a good example of two industry experts coming together to solve a mission-critical problem and ultimately help save lives," said Dr. Iain Christie, President, Neptec. "With the incredible resolution OPAL delivers, pilots will be able to view wires and cables down to a quarter inch size through brownouts, providing a natural view of the landing environment."
Further development of the AVS technology is part of CAE's recently announced Project Falcon, a C$714 million dollar research and development program at CAE that will span the next five years. The goal of Project Falcon is to expand CAE's current modeling and simulation technologies and develop new applications for these technologies, such as the AVS solution. As part of the AVS development, CAE and Neptec have signed an exclusive joint development agreement.
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