Saab, Varjo Build VR Visual Solution For Fighter Pilots

The New Solution Improves Visuals For Fighter Pilots and Streamlines Training Facilities

Saab Gripen E
Mixed RealityInsights

Published: June 10, 2021

Demond Cureton

Swedish aerospace and defence firm Saab and Finnish tech giant Varjo Technologies have teamed up to build a ‘human eye’ mixed reality (XR) solution for the former’s Gripen E/F training simulators.

The two multinational firms have been working jointly for many years on such solutions, with Varjo’s XR technologies now being integrated into Gripen E/F fighter jet simulators.

Varjo Lays New Milestone For Flight Simulator Training

The VR simultion would allow pilots to train according to actual flight specifications, reducing the need for conventional dome-shaped immersive training facilities, which increase costs and logistics.

Varjo’s XR-3 headsets will also train pilots with kit featuring built-in 3D vision by using separate screens for each eye, rather than flat screens coupled with special glasses in traditional setups.

The company’s Bionic Display projects patterns on the eye with infrared light emitting diodes (LEDs) monitored with small cameras along with adaptive resolution.

Screen resolutions remain ultra-high in the middle of a pilot’s field of vision (FoV) while remaining lower in peripheral views, and powerful gaming computers can replace supercomputers for the exercises.

Stefan Furenbäck, Saab Head of Tactical Environment Simulation and Visualisation, said:

“When we did our first experiments with commercial devices, we received feedback from the pilots that they were unable to read text in virtual reality because the resolution was not sufficiently high. This was not a problem with Varjo’s technology”

Seppo Aaltonen, Varjo’s Chief Commercial Officer added collaboration between the two firms had been “smooth and straightforward”, namely as they resolved shared technological problems.

Furenbäck concluded both firms were finalising basic functionalities for simulators set to use Varjo’s headsets, adding: “We’ve previously carried out smaller, independent prototype-like projects but now we’re integrating them into our actual flight simulators.”

The news comes just after Varjo announced in March it would begin working with French industrial firm Dassault Aviation to build immersive pilot training modules.

VR firm King Crow Studios also struck a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the United States Air Force (USAF) in late May to develop immersive training solutions for B-52 pilots, which is set to last up to 2025 and is valued at $6.5 million.



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