USING AUGMENTED REALITY TO ENHANCE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS FOR AIRCRAFT TOWING
Fetterolf, Colton S.
McDowell, Perry L.
Kennedy Cortez, Meghan Q.
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According to FY2014–FY2019 USN Web-Enabled Safety System data, 35 mishaps and 24 hazardous incidents (i.e., HAZREPS) occurred because of aircraft towing collisions, resulting in a monetary impact in excess of $14.4 million. This thesis explored the concept of using augmented reality (AR) as an operational tool to aid a tow crew director during the towing process. Feasibility testing of the AR system was conducted by creating a Unity-based, virtual reality (VR) program called aircraft towing enhanced with AR (ATEAR). ATEAR simulated an AR system in VR, and was designed to enhance a tow crew director’s understanding of an aircraft’s edges relative to surrounding objects on a flight line during the towing process. The 2020 COVID-19 outbreak prevented the research team from conducting the experiment using qualified aircraft maintenance personnel. However, pilot testing results from Naval Postgraduate School students indicated that the AR system could increase a tow crew director’s situational awareness and, in turn, decrease the likelihood of future towing incidents. This thesis showcases the proof of concept gleaned from pilot testing and describes a method of implementing such a device in the real world for use by aircraft tow crews in the Navy and Marine Corps.
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