For many augmented reality (AR) technology remains little more than a futuristic looking toy often demonstrated at trade shows. However, for those who have found applications for the maturing technology, its benefits are very real. Count the US Navy in that group.
AVATAR Partners, an innovator in virtual, augmented and mixed reality (extended reality or XR, collectively) software solutions for heavy-duty industry and defense, has received a contract to provide its Simplified, Intelligent AR Quality Assurance (SIA-QA) solution for the US Navy. The SIA-QA solution will focus on supporting aircraft wiring maintenance for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft. This AR-based, automatic QA system combines instruction and AI-based performance assessment in a single solution to help inspectors rapidly observe "as-is" versus "should be" conditions to speed installation and increase accuracy.
Michael Davis, technical director, AVATAR Partners, tells IndustryWeek, the dynamic and highly variable nature of the inspection environment brings challenges to implementing object and photo recognition to determine discrepancies in aircraft harness installation. “These variances in the environment could include different lighting conditions, personnel and support equipment movement and multiple aircraft configurations,” says Davis. “Understanding the expected boundaries of the environment within the AR experience will allow the solution to capture and adjust through the use of machine learning.”
Maintainer errors can be highly expensive or life threatening. Moreover, time-to-maintain is often insufficient to support aircraft readiness. The AVATAR Partners SIA-QA solution includes refresher training for aircraft maintenance technicians who have completed tours of duty away from the system for which they were trained. "We are pleased to have the opportunity of helping to improve aircraft readiness through on-demand technician training that provides knowledge at the point of need," said AVATAR Partners CEO and Founder Marlo Brooke. "Applying military-grade augmented reality provides the resources needed to establish critical training regimens that support a risk-managed framework for preparation and deployment."