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Japan Air Lines looking at HoloLens to train flight crew and engine mechanics

Japan Airlines (JAL) held a press briefing on April 18th announcing the fruits of collaborating with Microsoft Corporation since August 2015. As a company that prides itself on using new technology to provide higher quality services, JAL has adopted using the HoloLens as an instruction training tool for its employees. Japan Airlines is the first company in Asia and the first airline in the world to work closely with Microsoft to develop applications.

As a result of the pairing, two prototypes were available for demo at the press conference. One exhibited an in-depth training lesson for any flight crew that intended to be promoted to co-pilot. The second provided hands-on experience for teaching airline engine mechanics.

Currently, crew members are taught by sitting in front of a panel with photos of cockpit instruments and switches. Given the limited experience and restrictions of available personnel, time, and location, Japan Airline believes Microsoft HoloLens will enhance the training by providing a more accurate operation.

With augmented reality, the trainee will be able to step into a realistically sized cockpit at any time and anywhere and follow along with an automatic instructor’s voice that will move them through the procedures. If the student gets lost or stuck, it will direct them to the next step. Users can press and flip switches, rotate dials, and pull levers to carry out operations that they will need to learn.

Mechanics have a similar experience in the other application. Users are able to train with a realistic engine right in front of their eyes. Interacting with the engine will let the mechanic rotate the model, identify parts, and study the structure of the engine and the surrounding systems. This is a huge step up from the current method that is severely limited by the type of aircraft that is currently available, causing most studies to be derived from textbook education and diagrams.

The benefits of using Microsoft HoloLens for training speak for themselves. Using interactive experiences that can be taken home by the student and studied without assistance will create a more in-depth understanding of how the operations are performed. While JAL doesn’t believe it will shorten the learning time, they do feel that it will increase the number of trained individuals, enhance the proficiency of training, and improve the overall quality of their service.

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What other ways do you think airlines could utilize the HoloLens?