18 November 2011

Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

The next big thing in flight simulation

More realistic, safer and less expensive flight simulation is now available for training commercial, fighter and helicopter pilots with new technology supported by the Gillard Labor Government.

Unveiling the Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) at Deakin University’s Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR), Minister for Innovation Kim Carr said the new technology is ‘the next big thing’ in motion simulators and a great leap forward for pilot training in Australia.

“Traditional flight simulators have restricted movement and a limited ability to replicate a real flying experience. Robotic experts at CISR have integrated the latest in haptics technology—adding a sense of touch and feel to virtual or remote objects—to produce a commercial system that is ideal for flight simulation,” Senator Carr said.

The simulator is essentially a seat at the end of a giant robot arm with a reach of seven metres. It can exert up to six Gs of force, and can undertake intricate manoeuvres in any direction—including upside-down and at very high speed.

There is less reliance on physical aircraft to train pilots, meaning reduced cost and risks to trainees.

Senator Carr said that the Australian Government is proud to have invested $285 000 in this technology through the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme.

“We are excited that new funding of $210 000—recently awarded under the ARC Linkage Projects scheme—will help CISR researchers utilise the technology to develop effective pilot training methods and improve aviation safety.

“The ARC’s Linkage funding schemes are important for promoting national and international partnerships between researchers, business and industry. This encourages the transfer of skills, knowledge and ideas and secures commercial and other benefits of research,” said Senator Carr.

The UMS generates forces and vibrations that simulate a realistic experience through the use of a joystick. Combined with a high-resolution 3D display mounted inside a headset, the user is totally immersed in the set training environment and has a ‘real’ experience—both visually and physically. While currently in use for pilot training, the technology will also have applications for land-based simulation including tanks and racing cars.

For more information about CISR and the UMS, visit the Deakin University website.

For more information on the ARC and its funding schemes, visit the ARC website.

Media contact: 
ARC Stakeholder Relations
0412 623 056 or communications@arc.gov.au