Glass bottom plane

World premiere: 3spin and Lufthansa are making the “glass bottom plane” (virtual) reality

Lufthansa and 3spin are giving an outlook towards in-flight entertainment of the future by demonstrating a 3D visualization of the air route at the ITB 2017. Thanks to virtual reality, passengers can view the landscape below in 3D.

If you look outside your Window, you will see Vienna by night, the Pilot announces on a flight from Frankfurt to Dubai. But the cloud layer is much too thick for anybody to actually see the Prater Ferris-wheel. Other significant landmarks, like mountains and such, can only be seen by daylight. And so, the passengers on long distance flights usually just watch the monitors in order to see which regions they are passing over.

Gazing out of the window, I have often thought to myself: Where are we and what is going on down there… Our idea is based on that thought. In order to help passengers experience the world below we have developed the VR Moving Map in collaboration with the Lufthansa Customer Experience Team, Thomas Hoger of 3spin explains. Using Virtual Reality glasses, airline customers can view the mountains, lakes and cities their plane is passing over – whether it’s day or night, sunny or cloudy. Even better, not only is the scenery shown in the 3D map, but onlookers also have the option of diving deeper into specific locations by activating 360° photos or videos.

VR glasses have previously been tested on airplanes by the occasional provider. Lufthansa is the first airline worldwide to announce test runs with VR glasses as early on as January 2015 at the DLD in Munich. But it`s a first for passengers to be viewing VR with real time data relevant to their current flight. This makes for an additional value above and beyond.

All this is made possible by a smart phone app which accesses on-board flight data via WLAN. The position of the airplane is then combined with 3D data. A smart phone is slid into a pair of Samsung Gear VR glasses and one can now observe the landscape beneath the plane. It is also possible to take a virtual walk into the Cockpit and learn about the current flight speed and height, the outside temperature or the remaining distance of the flight’s destination. The large volume that 360° data produces can be accessed through an on-board server. There is no need for satellite internet.

Flight enthusiasts and engineers have been dreaming of the glass airplane for years. VR Moving Map makes this dream a virtual reality. Lufthansa is introducing the VR Moving Map as a functional concept study for on-board entertainment of the future. Public visitors of the ITB, the world’s leading Travel Trade Show, this weekend will be able to view the route Frankfurt-Dubai in 3D for the first time ever. Passengers can also try out the prototype during a FlyingLab. FlyingLab is an on-board flight conference that allows passengers to test innovative technology on a regular basis.

Even if you have never climbed the highest mountains: The VR Moving Map helps you keep a keen eye on the summit at any time under any condition.

Berlin, April 7th 2017

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