Virtual Reality Makes Ugly Skies Friendlier

Cockpit technology brings "Star Wars" to life

By Scott Budman
|  Thursday, Dec 30, 2010  |  Updated 9:57 AM PDT
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Virtual Reality Makes Ugly Skies Friendlier

Clearing things up.

In the midst of thousands of flight cancelations due to bad weather, here comes technology that promises to clear things up.  Like, crystal clear.

Aerospace giant Honeywell (HON) is casting an eye towards virtual reality GPS, with some new technology that will make "Star Wars" fans nod their heads and smile.  This will make the flying skies friendlier ... and cleaner.

The system being developed is called Synthetic Enhanced Vision System, or SEVS. It gives pilots a 3D view of what's in front of them, and no matter how bad the weather really is, your pilot's view will be sunny and clear.

SEVS uses a GPS database to put images of what lies ahead on screen, and it enhances things will real-time updates of what's out there.  If a tree falls below, that tree will, in real time, disappear from the screen. 

Seeing this in action is pretty cool.  It's a combination of the GPS we've all come to know and rely on, with a dose of airline technology that turns pea soup fog into a crisp, clear, virtual picture. Honeywell says it plans to roll SEVS out in major airports in the next couple of years.

Obviously, all this cool technology is aimed towards passenger safety.  With better visibility, pilots can make safer approaches and landings.  Thanks to technology that lets those pilots "see" what the rest of us cannot, we're likely to see far fewer flight cancellations due to low visibility in the future.  Angry because you couldn't make it home on time?  Be patient, and things will clear up soon.

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