10/17/2001 6:47:00 AM
Unique high brightness color display system could augment helicopter instrument panels
BOTHELL, Wash., Oct 17, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Microvision, Inc. (NASDAQ:
MVIS) today announced that it shipped the prototype helmet-mounted display (HMD)
system to the U.S. Army as part of its contract for the Virtual Cockpit
Optimization Program (VCOP).
The prototype system was shipped to The Boeing Company’s Mesa, AZ, helicopter
facility where it will be integrated with supporting elements of the VCOP system
including the Rotorcraft Pilot’s Associate mission-management software. After
testing, the complete VCOP system will be delivered to the U.S. Army’s APEX lab
(Advanced Prototyping Engineering and Experimentation) labs in Huntsville, AL
for further evaluation.
VCOP is the Army’s vision of how a virtual cockpit would function, including a
“what you see depends on where you look” concept that can be achieved with
Microvision’s advanced display technology. As the pilot looks up and out of the
cockpit, various types of targeting, navigational or terrain overlays appear on
his helmet display. When pilots look into the cockpit, they may see “virtual”
instruments projected onto the eye that literally replace many of the existing
dials and multifunction displays that are in cockpits today.
The VCOP program offers the Army both technical and cost advantages, noted Matt
Nichols, director of communications for Microvision. “Existing instruments can
be cumbersome and hard to maintain, and, as new capabilities arise, upgrading
this hardware without replacing or re-wiring everything is an expensive
procedure,” he said. “A virtual cockpit, however, is small, lightweight and can
be readily upgraded just by changing the software. We’ve seen estimates that
upgrading a VCOP system might be only one fifth of the cost of upgrading all the
integrated software and supporting elements in an existing helicopter’s avionics
Microvision’s approach to VCOP represents the changing nature of 21st century
warfare, said Rick Rutkowski, Microvision CEO. “Warfare has become information
driven and pilots must be able to receive, integrate, and assimilate information
from disparate sources in extremely short amount of time,” he said. “VCOP helps
this process by putting information up front in head up see through mode using
intuitive formats and procedures to scroll through and access data.”
Microvision’s prototype system will be tested in two types of applications –
operational aircraft, where the VCOP system could replace the existing
instrument panel or relegate it to a backup role in flight simulators and
operational aircraft. In a simulator setting, instrument panel designers will
try out new concepts and perform engineering trade studies on future
pilot/machine interface concepts using the VCOP prototype.
Microvision will continue under contract to further develop and refine the VCOP
system with the emphasis meet the military’s standard on durability leading to a
future flight test. Microvision is aiming for the market of new and existing
military helicopters including attack and utility platforms.
The company envisions that the virtual cockpit concept and its variations could
be utilized in helicopters that are in the design stage, and in a variety of
other military and commercial aircraft and even in ground vehicles. The goal of
the VCOP system is an estimated average yearly procurement quantity of 500
systems per year and an estimated total quantity of 3,000.
“The Army has set stringent performance expectations for its next generation of
rotorcraft; performance standards unattained prior to this prototype,” said
Rutkowski. “Our prototype system underscores that Microvision is in a unique
position to deliver a high performance yet cost-effective system solution that
exceeds the Army’s demanding requirements.”
About Microvision: www.mvis.com
Headquartered in Bothell, Wash., Microvision Inc. is the developer of the
patented retinal scanning display technology and a world leader in micro
miniature optical scanning technology for display and imaging applications. The
company’s technology has applications in a broad range of military, medical,
industrial, professional and consumer information products.
Forward Looking Statement
The information set forth in this release includes “forward-looking statements”
within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as
amended, and is subject to the safe harbor created by those sections. Certain
factors that realistically could cause results to differ materially from those
projected in the company’s forward-looking statements are set forth in the
company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
CONTACT: Microvision, Inc.
Matt Nichols (media), firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Heagler (investors), email@example.com
Randy Balogh, 206/285-5280
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