The Army has thousands of helicopters in its fleet. With deployments possible nearly anywhere in the world. The question becomes, how do you learn to maintain a particular helicopter, and for that matter, how would you check the performance of new parts on that specific chopper? Currently, you would have to be whether that helicopter is. In the future, you could use Augmented Reality. "What it does is it adds a hologram in front of you, something that you can see and you can walk around, a 3-D model," says Wesley Warr from Huntsville's Avnik Defense Solutions.
Wearing a headset the operator would see the helicopter in question, right in front of them. The hologram would be your basic digital twin, an exact copy of the helicopter in question. You could make it as small or large as you want, and be able to look at it from all angles, even stick our head in the window if you wanted to look inside the cockpit. "It allows an engineer to see a 3-D model of a digital representation of an actual platform that's out in the field, and walk around the problem and understand it and communicate that back with the field," says Avnik President and CEO, Michele Platt.
Using augmented reality to create a digital twin of any specific Army platform is the newest project for Huntsville's Avnik Defense Solutions. Company President Michele Platt says the benefit definitely goes to the soldiers,"Now they've got some tools that allow them to reduce their burden, increase their operational availability, help the commanders understand what platforms are available for the next mission," says Michele Platt.
Helicopters are of course expensive, and highly complex pieces of machinery. Being able to work on maintenance, training and even engineering for a specific aircraft without having to be on site, not only helps soldiers, but also taxpayers. "Absolutely, it'll save all kinds of operational and support costs. It'll save footprint for simulators. You can do the training in your office or the soldiers' hanger. You don't have to be in front of the physical asset," says Michele Platt.
Augmented reality is a new project, but Avnik Defense Solutions has been in business since 2006. Right now the company involved in managing various diagnostic systems being used by the military.