Fly by word

Qinetiq has completed the latest round of tests on its Direct Voice Input (DVI) technology, which allows aircrew to control avionics equipment from a helmet-mounted microphone.

The latest flight trials took place aboard an Army Air Corps Gazelle helicopter.

DVI’s voice recognition system is voice independent, meaning it does not have to be set up for individual speakers. It allows hands-free control of aircraft systems and means the user can keep an eye on the outside environment or other instruments.

Increasing amounts of technology in modern aircraft cockpits mean pilots risk spending more time dealing with complex instruments and displays than keeping an eye out through the cockpit window. Qinetiq’s system means a pilot has more time with hands-on control of the aircraft, which is important in single-handed operation.

DVI has undergone more than 30 hours of MOD-funded flight trials during which it achieved a 90 per cent command recognition rate in speech control of non-safety critical avionic functions.

DVI incorporates speech recognition technology developed by Aurix, Qinetiq’s voice-recognition products venture, and technology developed by Qinetiq’s Air Vehicle Integration to allow command recognition across different speakers in difficult environments.