Augmented Reality Helps Build Aircraft Tanks

Researchers at KIT are developing an assistance system which makes it easier for engineers to build and maintain aircraft tanks in which space is tight
Das Display in der Brille zeigt dem Monteur genaue Positionen und Arbeitsschritte an. (Foto: Markus Breig, KIT) Markus Breig, KIT
The display in the glasses shows the engineer exact positions and work stages. (Photo: Markus Breig, KIT)

Walking through an unfamiliar city, getting directions or simulations of buildings that no longer exist – augmented reality is where virtual content and the real world come together. Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are developing an assistance system based on this technology which supports engineers in building and maintaining aircraft tanks. The system is currently being tested in industry.


In augmented reality applications (AR), a tablet, smartphone or special video glasses, also called a head-mounted display, provide additional information on reality. On the display, virtual content is mixed with the real world. One of the best-known AR applications is the game of Pokémon GO, a virtual hunt for virtual beings which “emerge” in all kinds of real-world locations. But the technology is gaining more and more in importance also in industry: “We are developing software that helps us build and maintain aircraft tanks. It aims to increase the flexibility of the employees, accelerate the workflow, and connect and optimize processes,” says Christian Tesch from the Institute of Anthropomatics and Robotics at KIT, Chair of Intelligent Sensor-Actuator-Systems (ISAS, headed by Prof. Uwe D. Hanebeck). Many commercial aircraft are at first not equipped for long flights and their fuel tanks are too small. So that they can still travel long distances, additional tanks are required which have to be maintained on a regular basis. To do that, so far engineers have had to climb into the tanks through a small opening. Often, however, they need both hands for assembling components, and new workers in particular also need instructions at the same time.

Full Text: Press Release 071/2018

swi, 13.06.2018