Using Metaverse, AR, and VR in Aviation Training and Maintenance
Over the past few decades, aviation has truly become one of the safest and most reliable modes of transportation in the world. The industry has seen constant technological advancements, to meet the expectations of the growing number of modern passengers. The digital wave has brought about a significant transformation in all sectors, including aviation. In its recent report entitled “Future of the Airline Industry 2035”, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) identified various technologies such as robotics and automation, blockchain, virtual reality, augmented reality, web 3.0 , 5G, edge computing, metaverse and big data, among others, that will change flight for good.
Speaking specifically of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the Metaverse, although there are several use cases for these technologies in the aviation industry today, not enough has been said about the important role that they play in aeronautical training and maintenance. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are technologies that bring the complex environment of an aircraft or airport to life and can be used in different aspects of training in the aviation industry. Virtual reality can be programmed to create various scenarios and conditions for trainee pilots to experience, making it easier for them to learn by getting a close to real-life feel of the environment. For example, Boeing is using real airplane cockpits to mimic real flight, outfitting it with movie screens. The new crew can also include an aircraft and its equipment, without having to enter it. Similarly, a multi-faceted environment of the airport can also be animated using augmented reality, virtual reality, and metaverse for ground handling and ground handling operator training. In a nutshell, using technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Metaverse in training can produce great results, with relatively less time and resources.
AR and VR are also used to identify and address possible flight hazards. For maintenance, repairs and operations as well, the engineering team can use these technologies and learn how to fix any faults or potential problems with the aircraft. In terms of safety, these technologies can be extremely beneficial for the aviation industry as they offer innovative solutions such as 3D scanning, sensors, etc. as well as real-time information for use when inspecting an aircraft. What is more important is the accuracy that can be assured – AR technology provides clear visuals of the aircraft so that even the smallest bumps and scratches can be examined by the engineering team.
Outside of these use cases, virtual tourism is a high potential area for Metaverse/AR/VR, which can dramatically improve the immersive customer experience. Imagine, going around a remote place using your “digital avatar”, taking selfies, shopping, etc. while being comfortably installed at home, then share the experience on social networks. The opportunities for Metaverse/AR/VR in aviation are only limited by our imagination.
In conclusion, technologies such as Extended Reality ‘XR’ (AR, VR, Mixed Reality) and Metaverse are game changers for the aviation industry. They improve the customer experience, are cost effective, leave little room for error, save time and can provide the aviation industry with a much safer environment to learn, undertake maintenance and support many other opportunities. It is expected that most airlines that are ambitious and keen to stay ahead of the game will quickly adopt these solutions.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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