Elbit Systems is developing eye-tracking technologies in a bid to enhance the field of view of a combat pilot's helmet-mounted display systems.
According to Elbit a typical helmet FOV is from 20-40° and this limits its ability to target weapons if the opposing aircraft is outside that range, although still visible to the pilot.
Elbit's solution is to integrate a tracking device into future helmet-mounted systems that directs infrared light to the pilot's eye to track it. The system then detects where the eye is looking by processing the reflections of this light, expanding its targeting field of view by at least 15%, says Elbit.
"This is a very complicated task as each eye is different and g forces affect its shape in different phases of the flight. The pilot's head movement in the cockpit is limited and in some cases pilots cannot direct weapons to a visible target because he sees it at the edge of his eye's FOV, but outside the display FOV and the pilot's head is already at its angular limit," says Elbit's vice-president and chief scientist David Stavitsky.
He adds that in some cases, such as high g forces or high angular rates of the target or the platform, it is almost impossible for the cross-hair to be stable for long enough within the target's vicinity for the weapon to acquire it. Elbit is developing the eye tracking jointly with Technion Israel Institute of Technology.