Deakin University innovation lands the next generation of flight simulation



It might look like a state-of-the-art theme park ride, but the thrills with Deakin University’s latest innovation will only be experienced by the likes of future jet fighter pilots.

Unveiled at Deakin’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus today (Friday 18 November) by Federal Innovation Minister Kim Carr, Deakin’s Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) will take trainee pilots and drivers through their paces in a safer, cheaper and more realistic training environment than currently available elsewhere in the world.

“This next generation simulator uses its oversized robot arm to spin users at high speeds in any direction,” explained Professor Saeid Nahavandi, the Director of Deakin’s Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR).

“No other simulator can provide the full experience of flying a military jet with all the gut wrenching G-forces while only seven metres off the ground.

“While suited for training pilots, the UMS is also the perfect platform for simulating land based vehicles including tanks and other armoured vehicles, trucks, race cars and motorbikes. Its training capabilities are endless.”

With the UMS, Professor Nahavandi and his team have taken motion simulators to a whole new level.

“Standard simulators replicate the flying or driving experience by merely tilting from side-to-side and providing the ‘real life’ sensation through visual cues,” Professor Nahavandi said.

“What sets the UMS apart from standard simulators is the integration of haptics technology, which provides a sense of touch and feel to virtual or remote objects, and its ability move at high speed and in any direction.

“Combined with a high resolution 3D display mounted inside a headset, the user is totally immersed in the set training environment and has a ‘real’ experience – both visually and physically.”

Professor Nahavandi thanked Minister Carr for launching the UMS.

“The Federal Government has supported the development of the UMS through Australian Research Council funding,” he said. “Without this funding, the facility would not be up and running today.”

The University has received $1.8million in ARC/CRC grants towards the establishment of the facility that houses the UMS, including a $ 285,000 ARC Linkage-Infrastructure and Equipment Facilities Program grant in 2008.

ARC Linkage funding of $210,000 was recently announced for a flight simulation project starting at the CISR in 2012 and an additional $3.9million has been received from the Commonwealth to undertake security-related projects.