Elbit Systems announced on Monday a new physiological monitoring device for air force pilots, which enables the jet's on-board computer to switch to autopilot if the human pilot suffers hypoxia (lack of oxygen) or loss of consciousness.
The new system, called Canary, monitors the pilot's vital signs and physiological functions, and issues real-time alerts on the pilot's Helmet Mounted Display, or through the plane mission computer, if it detects the onset of problems.
In extreme, life threatening cases, when the pilot can no longer control the aircraft, Canary will "facilitate recovery of the pilot and the aircraft by engaging the auto pilot," Elbit said.
Canary has been developed in conjunction with the Defense Ministry, and uses sensors made by the Israeli start-up LifeBEAM, Elbit added.
It "will be integrated into Elbit Systems helmet and HMD systems and does not require any pilot interference or action," the Haifa-based defense company said.
”Pilots may be exposed to life-threatening medical conditions during flight due to low levels of oxygen (known as hypoxia). Modern aircraft may cause G-induced Loss of Consciousness (GLOC) and other physiological conditions (extreme fatigue, dehydration)," said Elbit Systems Aerospace Division's General Manager, Yoram Shmuely.
These form common causes for accidents with no reliable warning or recovery solution available, he added. "We believe that our new system will solve these problems and save pilots' lives," Shmuely stated.
Sources at Elbit added that potential clients have shown interest in the new system, which should complete the development stage in around a year.