Virtual reality helicopter simulator with 3D-audio and active control loading components
The DLR Institute of Flight Guidance has developed and operates several cockpit simulators for the purposes of demonstrating and evaluating new flight control technologies. This includes the Multimodal Cockpit Simulator (MMCS), a fixed-base cockpit simulator in which the cockpit and surrounding environment are displayed via head-worn virtual reality glasses. This allows researchers to simulate different existing helicopter types as well as display and test their own newly developed flight deck layouts. The simulator is equipped with a 3D virtual audio system to create a realistic acoustic environment for higher immersion and to test future audio pilot assistance systems.
Just like a conventional helicopter, the simulator is flown using three control elements: cyclic stick, collective and pedals. These are active control components. Integrated motors generate precise force feedback to give the pilot a realistic impression of the controls. The flight simulation itself is powered either by the commercial simulation software X-Plane 11 or by DLR’s own helicopter flight model, including novel flight-control systems.
The use of virtual reality technology brings numerous advantages. On the one hand, the VR glasses provide a very wide field of view, and on the other, the tracking of head movements provides the ability to freely look around the virtual environment. This gives the participants a very realistic impression of their surroundings. A virtual cockpit environment gives researchers a great deal of freedom for designing human machine interfaces. Flexible test environments like this are particularly important during the early development phases for comparing different configurations in a shorter time and as realistically as possible.
The research primarily involves real-time simulations using human subjects for evaluating new display and operating concepts. Novel operational methods and procedures that may be useful with the future use of new technologies are also being developed and investigated in collaboration with pilots.
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Helge Lenz · E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org · DLR.de/en
|Factsheet_Multimodal Cockpit Simulator_GB_PAS2019
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