Australian Navy trials Google Glass

Uses augmented reality headset to stage proof of concept helicopter maintenance project

The Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) has staged a proof of concept using Google Glass for aviation maintenance.

The FAA staged the trial in partnership with Dialog Information Technology and the Department of Defence’s Chief Information Officer Group.

The aim was to assess the benefits of using Google Glass to present a head-up display (HUD) to maintenance workers during work on FAA aircraft. It involved using Glass headsets in conjunction with tablets as an alternative to using laptops during some maintenance work on the AS350BA Squirrel helicopter.

“The technology enables video conferencing with supervisors from the actual location of the maintenance being conducted and enables a maintainer to have both hands free to conduct maintenance tasks, often at height and in difficult to access locations,” FAA commander Commodore Chris Smallhorn said in a statement.

“It is imperative that we, as one of the world’s most capable navies, stay at the forefront of technology and lead the way in researching the best and safest way to deliver our warfare capability.”

Dialog built a tablet application that could store and retrieve the information needed during the Before Flight Inspection (BFI) process on the helicopter.

The Navy is mulling a potential second phase involving using the headset to facilitate more complex maintenance work on the AS350BA.

In July, X — the ‘moonshot factory’ of Google parent company Alphabet — unveiled a new version of Google Glass (this version dubbed just ‘Glass) intended for enterprise use.

X revealed it had been running a business-focussed Glass program for the past two years, and that more than 50 businesses were using the device, including DHL, The Boeing Company, and Volkswagen.

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Google initially began selling Glass in 2013, selling an early version to ‘Glass Explorers’. The ‘Glass Explorer Edition’ was made more widely available in 2014.

In early 2015, Google said it would stop selling the Explorer Edition but the Glass team was “continuing to build for the future” and would unveil “future versions of Glass when they’re ready”.

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Tags department of defenceaugmented realityRoyal Australian NavyGoogle GlassNavy

More about Department of DefenceDialog Information TechnologyFAAGoogleRoyal Australian NavyTechnology

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