The U.S. Air Force revealed that the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, which will be out in 2008, will be the first U.S. fighter to respond to voice commands. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate has been deliberating on the idea for some time, and has even tried out different systems from a variety of companies. They have finally zeroed in on The DynaSpeak speech recognition software, which has been developed by SRI International in conjunction with Adacel Systems. The system hooks on to the plane’s onboard computer. It will be used to give commands for both communication and navigation. The requested data will then come up in the pilot’s helmet display. With voice recognition commands handy, the pilot will be able to stay focused on maneuvering the planes and will not have to flip switches or press buttons to retrieve information. The DynaSpeak system for the military requires no particular accent or speech directives to be used. Any pilot flying the F-35 can start using it immediately.
For many years the Air Force has been testing speech-recognition system that works from a microphone within a pilot’s oxygen mask in spite of loud ambient noise in the cockpit. The DynaSpeak system was first tested in flight simulators in which data was collected on which words were apt for commands. The Warfighter Interface Division of the Human Effectiveness Directorate is now trying out the system in real planes. They are collecting data on its accuracy to ensure that it’s ready for operational tests, evaluation and implementation in 2008.