Is virtual reality ready for deployment in commercial airliner cockpits?NewsBy Nick Vivion | May 26, 2015Share This article was originally published on Boeing is pushing to make virtual reality a standard piece of technology in aircraft cabins.The airplane manufacturer, in partnership with Honeywell, is working to standardize what's known as synthetic vision for use in cockpits. Basically, this technology creates a virtual view of the surroundings for the pilot as a way to enhance understanding and surface more accurate navigation information.The technology uses a 3D mapping interface to visualize the surroundings. The output scrubs the actual view in favor of a virtual version, which can be delivered via a heads-up or heads-down display.Additional information such as set minimums, speed, height and other information can be customized. Each bit of information is cross-referenced and verified to provide a precise navigation aid. This can be especially helpful during less-than-ideal landing conditions.The Synthetic Vision Guidance Systems (SVGS) are also championed by other aircraft manufacturers as ways to improve aviation safety.There is still a large amount of uncertainty surrounding these next-generation aviation systems, as regulators have not yet taken a stance on how the technology should be implemented in cockpits.The FAA should soon take a stance, likely echoing the regulations crafted by what's known as the RTCA Special Committee that developed minimum system and operational performance standards for these enhanced systems.Of course, there's always the chance for regulators to shy away from the technology, which has yet to find commercial applications beyond smaller jets due to this lack of industry and governmental buy-in.SVGS promises to offer a safer and more consistent way of landing planes but could also prove problematic if the systems lack reliability or require an expensive training investment. Only time will tell whether the industry will push to make this technology widely available.