The use of augmented reality with other flight path visualization technology means that private pilots can avail themselves of a tremendous amount of navigational guidance in-flight and while landing. The result is a real-time 3-D depiction of the the flight trajectory from beginning to end. Tin particular, the system works by superimposing virtual flight path markers – based on GPS data and other on-board aircraft orientation references – on to the actual field of view. This process work day or night and in all types of weather conditions.


AR-assisted technologies used for flight path visualization

AR-enhanced flight path visualization uses a variety of wide ranging technologies. For example:

  • Global positioning coordinates are provided by global positioning satellites (GPS) or its maritime alternative Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)
  • Heads-up displays provide orientation cues about the immediate environment and the plane’s general whereabouts
  • Using built-in cameras, gyroscopes and accelerometers, the augmented device can also establish the specific pose of the aircraft in relation to its GPS coordinates and the immediate surroundings
  • AR-technology allows for the real-time calculation of numerous data inputs that can help the pilot in finalizing his take-off, in-flight and landing procedures
  • The devices – smartphones, tablets or other connected instrumentation – needed for this technology are relatively compact and can be included on even the smallest personal aircraft

Information sources

Augmented reality devices gather, collate and display information from a variety of electronic and physical sources. In particular, they use:

  • The aforementioned GPS and GLONASS systems that provide positioning information
  • Local reference systems that provide data on the three principal axes of aircraft flight – yaw, pitch and roll – as well as altitude
  • Automatic surveillance data for the visualization of other nearby aircraft
  • Overall guidance for a predetermined flight plan

Benefits of AR technology related to flight path visualization

The intuitive nature of an augmented reality flight path visualization systems offers some significant benefits over traditional pilot training. For example :

  • Initial training is made more cost-effective as pilots can learn in “on the ground. Not only does this save on the use of aircraft but allows pilots to make errors in a safe and stable environment
  • Even in low visibility conditions, AR-dependent systems allows for enhanced spatial navigation through the sole use of instrumentation
  • For the military, it provides a significantly lower operating cost solution compared to traditional systems of comparable functionality