July 11 - New iPad touch-style screens for pilots to use in cockpits and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles are just some of the cutting edge technologies on display at the UK's biennial Farnborough Air Show this week. The show is one of the world's biggest and most widely attended aviation exhibitions, attracting thousands of aircraft companies and enthusiasts alike. Jim Drury reports.
It's the cockpit of the future, according to manufacturers Barco. The Belgian display technology firm are inviting pilots to test their new multi-screen touch cabin controls at the Farnborough International Air Show. Similar to an iPad or iPhone, the technology allows pilots to change a plane's direction with the sweep of a finger. Avionics products manager Brecht Baert says this form of human to machine interaction will soon be the standard for pilots. SOUNDBITE (English) BRECHT BAERT, PRODUCTS MANAGER AVIONICS FOR BARCO, SAYING: "Having this capability in the display we allow the creation of more simpler HMI (human machine interaction) so reducing the pilot workload, of making the operation of the cockpit more intuitive." The show also reflects the growing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance. Organisers set up a drone zone where UAVs like Alpi Aviation's Sixton-A took flight. Hawaii-based company NovaSol are displaying the VNIR, their new miniature integrated hyperspectral sensor for use on drones and larger military aircraft. It offers real-time aerial views of topography from high altitude for airborne reconnaissance and surveillance, or applications like mapping and urban planning. Vice President Detlev Even. SOUNDBITE (English) NOVASOL VICE PRESIDENT DETLEV EVEN SAYING: "We have been able to shrink the size of hyperspectral imaging by patenting the actual spectrometer, the key part......so they can go on UAVs or small vehicles, small airborne vehicles." The week-long Farnborough show takes place every two years. In 2010 almost 50 billion dollars of business was done here and despite a global economic downturn, airlines and manufacturers are hoping the show will help their products take-off. Jim Drury, Reuters