This ability to adapt to multiple performance standards provides increased situational awareness and presents Soldiers with faster decision-making abilities. Additionally, this adaptable design increases Soldier lethality and survivability by enabling Soldiers to find, identify, and track targets on the battlefield more swiftly.
In applications such as ATR, data mediation focuses on shared awareness at the tactical edge, which is critical to obtaining accurate information on the threat or object of interest. Processing image data from many sensors through artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques requires a significant amount of computational power at the tactical edge, providing the Soldier more immediate access to the data.
“Data collection events like this one are important because data is the precursor and an essential ingredient to building an AI/ML classification or prediction model. “The more opportunities we take to collect good, realistic data, the more effective our systems will be in identifying and classifying similar objects in the future.”
Soldiers can now use a virtual training simulator to shoot targets with individual weapons and even call in close-air support. The prototype system is an attempt to satisfy the Army’s need to create a synthetic training environment that dramatically increases the level of realism in training.
"They need a way to get soldiers into the same virtual environments that they have had for tanks and helicopters for decades,.
"When you do that in an immersive, synthetic environment, you can go beyond the live-fire range -- you can put soldiers into urban scenarios or into combat-type scenarios ... so you can stress them at a higher level and gain higher levels of proficiency."
"We can support up to a platoon ... that is something that the Army hasn't asked for. But the technology path that we have chosen allows us to actually do this for a platoon-sized unit over a large area. So we have the capability to do squad training or situational training exercises which we believe will be the next step as the Army goes down this path.”
The new trainer uses very high-quality graphics, similar to high-end games and relies on virtual-reality headsets and instrumented weapons.
"You can pick up a weapon, and the weapon is in that virtual environment," When you activate the stock of that weapon, you have that same sight picture as you would in real life, but you are in a virtual environment."
"The tool package that we put behind them will link them together and make them smart enough to understand where you are in the environment so that you can be realistically replicated in the synthetic environment. "As you ... take a knee, go to the prone, you are doing the same things in that synthetic environment.
Eventually, the sensor technology will be built into the headsets, so there will be no need for tracking sensors.
One of the features the Army is looking for is the ability for soldiers to train for calling in artillery or close-air support.
"You are ... on a hilltop looking down the valley, you've got some threat vehicles few miles away. "You have A-10s circling overhead; they come down and you control them and call in their attack, so that you can apply close-air support directly on those targets."
The simulator also allows soldiers to engage enemy targets with individual weapons at realistic ranges. If soldiers are using a rifle with an effective range out to 500 meters "you can engage targets out to 500 meters.”
The trainer will also allow units to train for scenarios involving checkpoints that could call for the need to escalate from using non-lethal devices to lethal force.
The Army is now developing the Integrated Visual Augmentation System IVAS, a headset that uses augmented reality to equip soldiers with a heads-up display allowing them to sight their weapon and view key tactical data.
Scheduled to be ready for fielding, IVAS will also allow soldiers to train in synthetic training scenarios such as mission rehearsals before going on a live operation.
Virtual-reality headsets provide an immediate capability" the Army could take advantage of, but the system will be adaptable to work with augmented-reality headsets used with IVAS.
"The final product ... will include a variety of features: a color see-through digital display that makes it possible for the user to access information without taking your eye off the battlefield; thermal and low-light sensors that make it possible to see in the dark, literally; rapid target acquisition and aided target identification; augmented reality and artificial intelligence, to name just a few.”
Soldiers test the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, an advanced goggle that would put mixed reality with navigation, target identification and other capabilities into troops' view.
On the heels on the fielding of night vision goggles with options for thermal and rapid target acquisition software earlier this year, the Army is on track to field a “mixed reality” headset that would add a host data options into the view of every grunt.
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System recently hit its second soldier touchpoint, which has soldiers and Marines from both the conventional and special operations forces running through controlled scenarios with the goggle.
The system melds navigation, targeting, situational awareness and communications into a single device with advanced thermal and night vision.
The recently fielded Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular has Rapid Target Acquisition software and a wireless link to a weapon-mounted camera. That allows users to toggle between the goggle view, weapon-mounted camera view or a picture-in-picture option to see both.
The RTA feature allows for soldiers to shoot from the hip by lining up the view in the goggle and even poke the weapon over barriers or around corners to hit targets without exposing themselves.
The IVAS will link into those existing features but also could feature facial recognition software, target tracking so that the goggle could keep track of multiple threats and even algorithms that would identify threatening postures or behaviors in view.
Virtual reality, or VR, immerses users in a computer generated environment, such as video gaming. Augmented reality, or AR, transposes data or other digitally created images on top of a real-world field of view, such as the yellow first-down marker or the orange strike zone box that TV viewers see when watching football or baseball games.
VR and AR headgear can improve the way troops train for high-end fights against advanced adversaries by providing digitally created enemy forces or other environmental factors that they might encounter in a real battle,.
In the traditional pilot training construct, soliders start with some paper publications or an iPad that has their training documents on it. They go from that into an extremely expensive traditional simulator where they can do the full range of flight maneuvers. The problem with those expensive sims is there’s only a handful of them and they’re constrained on the number of times a trainee can get into them.
But today’s headsets have some drawbacks.
“When you start going to the super high resolution goggles, the field of view gets narrower. To get a wider field of view you’re going to a lower resolution goggle.
“But ideally the technology work will continue to advance and we’ll have a super wide field of view with super high resolution and very advanced frame rates so there’s no jitteriness. We’re just not there yet.”
However, at the rate that technology is progressing in the gaming industry, the Air Force might have the types of VR headsets it wants in the not too distant future.
“We’re very excited in the next couple of years about where this is going, because we’re not far away from headsets that are incredibly high fidelity to where anybody putting on the headset will be” immersed in a virtual environment that looks much more like the real world.
“They may shrink the existing capabilities with the existing field of view, but as they try to bring the field of view to something that’s bigger, they’re going to be forced to go a bit wide. “We’ll see the devices lighten up, but we may actually see them physically grow to encompass a larger instantaneous horizontal field of view.”
A modified version of Holo Lens augmented reality headsets are being provided to the Army for the Integrated Visual Augmentation System program, which includes a heads-up display. The service intends to use the devices for training purposes and to provide improved situational awareness and data access to troops on the battlefield.
The HoloLens system has see-through lenses. “I can see the real world, but we can now take data and information and display that in the form of 3D holograms that we can lock into your environment,”
1. Virtual Reality Provides a Safer Training Environment
2. Ability to Create Exposure to Risk, More Realistic Training
3. Virtual Reality Training Allows for Endless Repetition
4. Real Life is Random. Virtual Reality Tools Can Generate That Randomness
5. Virtual Reality Provides a Safe Environment to Test and Evaluate Procedures
6. Immersive VR Training Can Increase Trainee Focus
7. Virtual Reality Training Gives Trainers Better Evaluation Tools
8. Training Can Be Customized for Specific Sites, Scenarios, and Standards
9. Virtual Reality Can Make Training More Efficient
10. Virtual Reality Training Research Indicates Higher Retention