Aircraft synthetic vision system is an aviation technology that provides the database of runways, terrains, airports, obstacles, and flight plan information to build a virtual environment that corresponds to the real world. It combines this database with the computing platform, position sensor, and display to provide a computer generated perspective view to the pilot. This system helps to enhance the situational awareness of the pilot by providing a lucid image of the external environment during night time or low visibility conditions.
The aircraft synthetic vision system gives the pilot a very intuitive and natural view of the terrain features ahead. Thus, aircraft synthetic vision systems have enhanced the operational capability of aircrafts by reducing the chances of accidents. It consists of a low cost synthetic flight bag portable system which implements moving map, synthetic vision, and route planning in a single hardware and software package. Synthetic vision technology helps to reduce accidents which are caused due to loss of control, CFIT, and runway incursion.
The major factor which is driving the growth of the aircraft synthetic vision system market is the rising Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT). CFIT is an event in which an aircraft which is under pilot control accidentally flows into the water, ground, mountain, or any obstacle. In such conditions, pilots are generally unaware of the danger before it is too late. CFIT has led to constant safety improvements in commercial aircrafts and general aviation sectors, thereby increasing the demand for aircraft synthetic vision systems.
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The major cause of CFIT accidents is the lack of awareness of the surrounding terrain, while working in poor visibility due to bad weather or at night. With current cockpits, pilots rely heavily on paper charts in order to understand their ongoing operations with the nearby threatening terrain. For this purpose, pilots locate their position on the charts with the help of radio navigation aids, thereby projecting their relative location on the chart. This adds to the workload of the pilot, especially during descent landing and climb to cruise altitudes. Research activities conducted by NASA under the Aviation Safety Program (AvSP) are paving the way for aircraft synthetic vision systems.
The major opportunity for the market lies in the incorporation of more advanced and innovative technology in existing aircraft synthetic vision systems. This would facilitate aircrafts to work in more demanding environment conditions having very low visibility. Moreover, global positioning system (GPS) is expected to provide an alternative source of approach for navigating these aircrafts in future. Growing demand for synthetic surveillance systems (SVS) and rotorcraft platforms, growing retrofit market, and improved safety standard are also some of the drivers for market growth.
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