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FedEx will use smart glasses to help pilots land in emergencies

SAVED lets crews see what's outside when smoke fills the cockpit.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 12, 2018
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Osterhout Design Group

Smoke is understandably a serious danger for aircraft, and not just in life-threatening situations -- the FAA notes that there's typically one smoke-related landing per day. But how does the pilot land with a smoke-filled cockpit where they might not even see the instrument cluster, let alone the outside world? FedEx and the Osterhout Design Group have an idea. They're showing off SAVED (Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced Display -- yes, it's a forced acronym), a hybrid smart glasses and oxygen mask system that provides data from the aircraft's HUD and external cameras to help with emergency landings. Pilots won't have to fly blind or risk passing out just to avoid a disaster.

The system is small, light and easy to install, Osterhout claims, and it's easy to see as much from a quick glance. Smart glasses are usually bulky by themselves, but they're relatively compact inside an oxygen mask.

Not surprisingly, FedEx is the first customer. It's using SAVED for both training and real-world flights. There's no mention of other customers just yet. However, it's easy to see other couriers and airlines adopting wearable tech like this in the future when it could save lives and, in the best cases, avoid crash landings.

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