Airbus aims to reimagine cockpit displays. Photo courtesy of Airbus
Airbus is combining synthetic vision and its primary full-format flight display (PF3D) into one screen that aims to show pilots everything they need.
Teams for the synthetic vision and PF3D systems have now merged and are conducting feasibility studies in advance of the new display's anticipated commercial service entry in 2021. "We know from customer focus groups that airlines and their pilots would like to have cockpits with this technology," said Alexis Frenot, the project leader for the joint venture.
Synthetic vision grew out of Airbus' 2015 break from traditional iteration on primary flight displays that present relevant information to pilots, according to Airbus' Fabrice Bousquet. Crucial to its success was the company's work on PF3D because, without changes, older-generation PFDs would have degraded the visual quality of information being presented.
"We had to adapt the scales because they weren't uniform across the display, which would have resulted in natural features like mountains being flattened," Frenot said. "We also needed the capacity to show pilots their trajectory. While existing PFDs give pilots the information needed to work this out for themselves, our new system actually shows them."