UCF, Boeing help create virtual training pilots

by: Racquel Asa, WFTV Web Staff Updated:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The next generation of pilots will soon use new technology developed by students at the University of Central Florida. 

The technology is augmented reality glasses and a chair, that give future pilots a virtual experience. 

They use some of the same commands that a pilot would use inside a cockpit, except, for the past year, those commands have been coming from a research lab at UCF. 

"So he's sitting right here in his chair and we can walk through a takeoff procedure together,” said Michael Eakins, of the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training. 

Boeing partnered with UCF to develop the virtual pilot. 

It's a way to tackle the pilot shortage with more carriers coming on board and retirements outpacing hirings. 

The technology won't replace any real-time pilots in the air, but rather improve the training needed for what happens in real time, involving a team in the cockpit. 

“The interaction of the crew is a large part of the pilot's job,” said Elizabeth Biddle, of Boeing company's advanced learning organization. 

The customized software is meant to be used around the world and allows the virtual co-pilot to speak a different language. 

Boeing told Channel 9’s Racquel Asa it hopes to have pilots around the world using the glasses by 2020. 

The partnership with Boeing is the latest research and development endeavor by the university. Of the $146 million in research money UCF received last year, $17 million went to the institute for simulation and training, which developed the software.

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