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29 September 2014
29. September 2014 Defence and Space

SFERION® successfully tested in the desert

In July, Airbus Defence and Space’s newly developed pilot assistance system, SFERION®, was successfully tested in the Arizona desert for the first time at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona, on board a U.S. Army Bell UH-1.

The test programme featured take-off and landing and taking off in brown-out conditions, flying at low-altitude over hilly ground, and navigating obstacles such as power lines and pylons.

Search and rescueAR teams, police, special and military forces all face safety hazardsecurity risks. This is especially true during for flights at low altitude and in conditions that limited visibility – such as brown-out, white-out or in the hours of darkness – since thisese increases crew workload dramatically and. This can often frequently lead to a total loss of situational awareness or even tragic accidents.

SFERION® keeps providing flight crews aware of their with spatial and tactical situational awareness at all times, enabling them to so they can perform their flightying and mission-specific tasks with ease.

The test flights showed that the laser-based obstacle warning system with the SferiSense® sensor at its core was able to accurately and reliably register assimilate the surroundings. SferiSense® consistently detected even the smallest obstacles, such as rocks, that might jeopardisze a safe touchdown on landing. What’s more, SferiSense® demonstratedworks reliabley operation even after entering a brown-out cloud with light to medium dust intensity – which means it far exceeding originals expectations.

Another technical challenge was to design the algorithms SFERION® uses to successfully combine bring together all real-time sensor readings with database information in order to generate a clear, realistic picture of the helicopter’s surroundings. One important aspect  of this is the human-machine interface, which has to be able to present pilots with all the information they need  – such as the next navigation point or nature of the landing zone – at any given time and, and make sure that information is easily digestedin a user-friendly way. This includes the next navigation point or the nature of the landing zone.

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