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Boeing field-tests augmented reality-based maintenance technology

Boeing Australia FSR Luc de Leacy (left) and USAF Airman First Class Anthony Cardoni on the flight deck of a USAF C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft during a field test of Boeing's ATOM technology. (Boeing)

Boeing has conducted the first field test of an augmented reality (AR)-based maintenance technology it has developed to enable swift repair of deployed aircraft.

The technology, named Augmented Training Operations Maintenance (ATOM), was tested on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft belonging to the United States Air Force (USAF), Boeing said in a media release on 24 August.

Boeing added that the field test was part of the USAF's ‘Mobility Guardian 2023' exercise conducted in July, and was supported by personnel from Boeing Australia. The ‘Mobility Guardian 2023' – held in the Indo-Pacific – was led by the USAF's Air Mobility Command. The air forces of Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom also participated in the exercise.

“During the exercise, a USAF maintainer was required to obtain virtual support to troubleshoot a C-17 Globemaster III thrust reverser fault in a simulated semi-contested environment,” Boeing said.

A Boeing Australia Field Service Representative (FSR) at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley in Queensland used Microsoft HoloLens AR headsets to virtually share repair manuals and conduct engine diagnostics with the USAF maintainer, who was 1,400 km away in Townsville, Boeing added.

“The artefacts appeared as holograms that both users navigated using voice commands and hand gestures, enabling the Boeing FSR to troubleshoot the fault with the USAF maintainer in real time, as if they were together,” Boeing said.

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