Visual Computing

University of Konstanz

Sensor-enhanced 3D conformal cueing for safe and reliable HC operation in DVE in all flight phases

T. Münsterer, T. Schafhitzel, M. Strobel, P. Völschow, S. Klasen, F. Eisenkeil


Low level helicopter operations in Degraded Visual Environment (DVE) still are a major challenge and bear the risk of potentially fatal accidents. DVE generally encompasses all degradations to the visual perception of the pilot ranging from night conditions via rain and snowfall to fog and maybe even blinding sunlight or unstructured outside scenery. Each of these conditions reduce the pilots’ ability to perceive visual cues in the outside world reducing his performance and finally increasing risk of mission failure and accidents, like for example Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). The basis for the presented solution is a fusion of processed and classified high resolution ladar data with database information having a potential to also include other sensor data like forward looking or 360° radar data. This paper reports on a pilot assistance system aiming at giving back the essential visual cues to the pilot by means of displaying 3D conformal cues and symbols in a head-tracked Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) and a combination with synthetic view on a head-down MFD. Each flight phase and each flight envelope requires different symbology sets and different possibilities for the pilots to select specific support functions. Several functionalities have been implemented and tested in a simulator as well as in flight. The symbology ranges from obstacle warning symbology via terrain enhancements through grids or ridge lines to different waypoint symbols supporting navigation. While some adaptations can be automated it emerged as essential that symbology characteristics and completeness can be selected by the pilot to match the relevant flight envelope and outside visual conditions.


  address    = {Bellingham},
  author     = {T. Münsterer and T. Schafhitzel and M. Strobel and P. Völschow and S. Klasen and F. Eisenkeil},
  booktitle  = {Degraded Visual Environments : Enhanced, Synthetic, and External Vision Solutions 2014 ; 7–8 May 2014 Baltimore, Maryland, United States},
  doi        = {10.1117/12.2050377},
  editor     = {Güell, Jeff ...},
  isbn       = {978-1-62841-024-2},
  note       = {Article Number: 90870I},
  number     = {9087},
  publisher  = {SPIE},
  series     = {Proceedings of SPIE},
  title      = {Sensor-enhanced 3D conformal cueing for safe and reliable HC operation in DVE in all flight phases},
  year       = {2014},

Supplemental Material

Paper (.pdf, 878.2 KB)