VR and AR in the aviation industry hold great importance due to the advantages these technologies bring to the table at significantly reduced costs and dangers.
VR and AR are two immersive technologies that are rapidly evolving and can empower and change various industries. These technologies can streamline their services & operations, enhance their capabilities and provide their services more effectively & efficiently.
There are estimates of more than 58 million people using VR and more than 93 million people using AR at least once a month in the US alone. Representing almost 17.7% and 28% of the US population, VR technology, and AR technology's future seems to increase accessibility and adaptability across different industries rapidly.
Consequently, virtual reality businesses and augmented reality businesses are flourishing quite swiftly. Accordingly, many industries, including the aviation industry, are promptly experimenting and adopting these mixed reality technologies in their platform as fast as possible.
Aviation is one of those industries where mistakes cost huge economic setbacks and can also cost human lives. Due to this high cost associated with the errors and the expensive nature of the aviation industry, any possible errors must be fixed and accounted for without fail.
What are VR and AR?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that enables interactive experience with real-world elements and environments. In AR, these environments and objects are enhanced with the help of various digital information & features, including sounds, visual elements, haptic feedback, and many other sensory feedbacks powered & delivered by the AR system.
On the other hand, Virtual Reality is an entirely virtual or computer-generated simulation that tries to immerse the user in a 3D virtual world. This virtual reality world generally contains scenes, environments and elements, and sensory information like sounds, visual details, haptic feedback, and other sensory information. This information is delivered to the user to immerse the user such that they feel that they are inside and are a part of the VR environment.
VR and AR are emerging technologies that are slowly making strides in various kinds of industries. These technologies can simulate almost anything so that they can incorporate the user in that simulated environment. It makes these immersive technologies very beneficial with numerous prospects and possibilities. Due to this, VR and AR are two of the most rapidly growing technologies worldwide.
VR and AR in Aviation Industry Today
Many airlines already use AR and VR in aviation systems in their daily operations. From staff training to customer entertainment, virtual reality and augmented reality in airlines improve their efficiency, competence, and output.
Currently, many airlines are implementing VR training for their staff. For example, vantage Airport Group, Qatar Airways, Celebi Aviation Holding, Lufthansa, Air France, Japan Airlines, and many more already use VR simulations to train their staff in collaboration with different AR and VR companies. In addition, various Boeing and Airbus staff and crew are already preparing in VR to improve their skills, knowledge, and adaptability.
SIA Engineering Company uses VR solutions for maintenance and simulation of aircraft in different environments and scenarios to maximize flight safety and turnaround times. Additionally, the company uses VR systems for maintenance and repair operations for better efficiency and accurate error detection.
SATS Ltd uses AR glasses to check and handle cargo containers with baggage information in real-time. As a result, SATS estimates that flight boarding times and efficiency will increase by 15 minutes per flight in an average jetliner. Moreover, the passengers will also be able to have short check-in and out times in their airports.
Air New Zealand's collaboration with Dimension Data plans to bring AR systems for its cabin crew using HoloLens. Information like passenger information, flight data, and details are in planning for inclusion in these systems.
Air France, Joon, and Japan Airlines implement VR and AR technology for consumers and in-flight entertainment systems. Their collaboration with Dreamworks, SkyLights VR, and 20th Century Fox hopes to reinvent the consumer experience in flight. They also have partnerships with VR and AR companies to implement different solutions for infotainment and entertainment.
VR and AR for Safety and Training
Even more than economic costs, one of the essential things in the aviation industry is safety. Although aviation has very few accidents and fatalities worldwide, safety is an integral part of this industry due to travel.
Unfortunately, despite aviation being one of the safest modes of travel, it still has a long way to go, with safety standards needing improvement. In aviation, training is one of the most important factors affecting safety. Training staff and pilots properly reduce the chances of errors happening due to humans.
In addition, better training the inspection staff will result in better inspection skills to help detect and resolve errors more effectively and efficiently. Augmented reality flight simulators and VR can enhance and upgrade every training process for any staff or pilot from the industry.
VR is beneficial to train the flight deck crew, including pilots and co-pilots. VR can help them be familiar with flight controls and for better skills necessary for a flight.
VR can provide training for flight deck crew in skills for better handling of the aircraft, rapid adaptation, and handling of different situations & emergencies. AR can also help the deck crew with necessary information and guidance while in flight. It will also increase the overall safety of the flight.
VR can provide a safe and more rigorous environment for training the inspection staff. Training these inspection teams in VR will also enable training in different conditions, settings, and situations. Due to this, inspection teams will be able to adapt to other working conditions with better output. Consequently, this eliminates any possible failures that may occur during the actual flight. Additionally, AR can also help inspection crew to perform a better assessment of an aircraft.
VR and AR also provide a platform to train cabin crew. VR can enable cabin crew training to serve customers better, & perform all necessary tasks on any flight. Moreover, they can also get training to adapt and handle various scenarios during a flight. VR can also train them for better monitoring of the flight situation, suspicious passengers and provide proper safety instructions during any danger.
AR and VR in business for Product Innovation and R&D
Aviation is one of the most expensive industries. With the immense cost of research, development, and testing, the overall expenditure of designing and developing an aircraft quickly reaches humongous amounts. Due to this, even engineers don't get enough training and practice with genuine parts.
Moreover, they also don't get rapid testing and experimentation with genuine parts. VR and AR can change all that. So these technologies are not only technologically beneficial, AR and VR in business are also very advantageous due to their cost-effectiveness.
The use of VR with simulations and AI can enable a new path in the research and development of an aircraft. Rapid testing, development, and iteration will be possible with minimal costs due to VR and simulation technology.
Furthermore, engineers will be able to better design aviation machines and mechanics due to the creative and engineering freedom they get due to VR technology. Subsequently, aircraft R&D will be rapid, innovative, and cost-efficient with even better results.
Therefore, including augmented reality and virtual reality in business is very beneficial and advantageous. Furthermore, AR flight simulators also enable more excellent product innovations and offer better business opportunities.
VR and augmented reality aviation technologies can close the gap between engineers and physical training they get during traditional training periods. Immersive environments with realistic VR worlds and 3D models will enable accurate and real-life-like training environments. It will also improve the efficiency and proficiency of an aviation organization.
Other applications of VR and AR
Aircraft maintenance and repair works can be incredibly efficient due to the use of VR and AR. With VR and AR mixed in with technologies like 3D simulation and AI, maintenance and repair crews can scan, examine and inspect an aircraft with more efficiency and ease.
Moreover, different parts and sections of the aircraft can go through a more thorough inspection. This process will be fast, efficient, and more effective than traditional methods of assessment. It will be especially true for large aircraft.
In-flight entertainment and infotainment systems can also experience drastic changes due to VR and AR technologies. However, many aviation customers can experience discomfort and even feel unsafe during the flight for using infotainment systems.
However, with augmented reality flights and virtual reality flights, the customers will be more immersed in them and enjoy their experience. Furthermore, with possibilities like 360 movies, games, and shows in VR, passengers will enjoy the flight more.
The market for VR and AR in the aviation industry was approximately 78 Million US dollars for 2019. AR and VR in aviation are estimated to increase more than 1,372 Million US Dollars by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 61% during this period. It shows that AR and VR are rapidly increasing in growth and adoption in the aviation industry.
The future of AR and virtual reality in the aviation industry looks to be very promising. VR and AR in aviation will enable higher efficiencies in R&D, maintenance & repair, product innovation & development, staff and crew inspection, and in-flight entertainment & infotainment systems.
Today, companies like FS studio are already providing various kinds of VR and AR solutions to enable these advantages & benefits for safer, cost-effective, and efficient virtual reality and augmented reality airlines.