Trained, experienced pilots are a necessary and key part of aviation. Since the beginning, successful pilot training has always required two people – the experienced, knowledgeable teaching pilot and the pilot trainee. Now, thanks to Boeing engineers and researchers at the University of Central Florida's Institute for Simulation & Training, new technology is changing the game with a so-called “virtual co-pilot”.
The technology program creates a co-pilot avatar customizable in different genders, cultures and languages. When using virtual-reality goggles, trainees can see the virtual pilot and have an immersive training experience where they can converse and inquire the virtual co-pilot as they would with a real co-pilot.
The virtual co-pilot technology will streamline training and lower costs by eliminating the need for a second person on the flight deck, with the ultimate goal being a mobile package trainees can take home and practice multiple scenarios from the comfort of their living room.