For anyone who has driven a car or flown an aircraft with HUD (Heads Up Display), the safety benefits of not looking away from the road or the sky are more than apparent.

For those that are still not familiar with this technology, an HUD allows the pilot to see through the windshield of the aircraft as vital information is presented in transparent form directly in front of his/her eyes. It is basically the same technology behind the famous teleprompters that most politicians use to address their audiences.

It was invented during World War II to allow certain allied aircraft to have a fighting advantage over enemy planes, as pilots did not have to look away from the fight developing outside the windshield.

Now, a company in Finland, Anarky Labs, has brought this technology to the world of uncrewed aviation by developing a solution that can be used by a variety of drone manufacturers and headsets. We had the opportunity to talk to Hannu Lesonen, Founder & CEO of Anarky Labs, who explained the reasoning behind the creation of his company and its technology.

“We set out to develop a set of software tools that combine Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in order to provide drone pilots with enhanced situational awareness,” said Hannu. “We called it AirHUD, and, basically, it connects a standard drone smart controller to an off-the-shelf AR/VR headset like Microsoft HoloLens 2, Magic Leap 2 or MetaQuest 3/Pro. It is the first real Heads-Up Display for drone pilots.”

When presented with a video of the technology, the benefits are immediately apparent. The pilot is presented with a variety of screens smartly distributed around the field of vision while allowing an unrestricted view of the drone in the distance.

“We studied and analyzed exhaustively how drone pilots do their flying and what information would be valuable to enhance situational awareness while monitoring the basic functions of the drone and the mission being flown,” Hannu said. “With AirHUD drone pilots can now see their drones even in low light, behind obstacles or flying beyond visual line of sight. Instead of crowded information in the small controller, AirHUD provides data where it’s relevant. This raises situational awareness to totally new levels, increasing efficiency and safety of operations.”

The technology was designed for the current state of Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) regulations and flights that must be conducted within the visual range of the operator (in the USA Part 107). AirHUD allows the drone pilot to act also as the spotter or observer, giving extra information about surroundings and obstacles.

“There are a large number of specific missions that would benefit from AirHUD, but public safety and search and rescue have been the two that we have worked with the most,” said Hannu. “When searching for a missing person, the drone pilot can now see all its surroundings and, at the same time, the possible location on a 3D map of the individual using a variety of sensors for day and night operations. We can also integrate digital twin imagery into the feed, adding to the possibility of success in the search.”

When the conversation turned to the future of technology, Hannu was particularly excited about one added feature.

“We are now working to add ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast) to our software, so the drone pilot will also have traffic available at actual locations in the sky in case another aircraft approaches,” Hannu stated. “In the recent Interpol Drone Summit, we presented our technology, and the highly raised situational awareness provided by AirHUD was well received by the different public safety agencies present at the event. Everyone saw the benefits of providing drone pilots with superior information without restricting view of the aircraft.”

HUD has been a staple of operations on the ground and in the air for many decades but now, thanks to Anarky Labs, it is available to the uncrewed aviation community for a large variety of drones, controllers, and headsets.

For a complete list of use cases and supported drones please visit