U.S. Army invests in virtual reality training

October 16, 2018  - By
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The U.S. Army considers virtual reality training as an important path ahead to prepare warfighters.

The U.S. Army awarded Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) a major extension to demonstrate technologies for a cloud-enabled, virtual world training capability.

BISim is a global developer of advanced military training and simulation software.

The contract award helps meet the requirements of the Army’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE) initiative. STE aims to converge virtual, constructive and gaming training environments into a single unified architecture.

The ambitious STE project will enable simulation systems Army-wide to leverage a persistent virtual world for any imaginable training need, including support for multi-domain operations incorporating cyber and space.

Central to STE is a cloud-enabled One World Terrain (OWT) that will let warfighters conduct virtual training and complex simulations anywhere on a virtual representation of the Earth. OWT will leverage cloud technologies to deliver to the point of need, ensuring a common and high-fidelity whole-Earth terrain representation for a multitude of different simulation systems.

The Synthetic Training Environment will assess Soldiers in enhancing decision-making skills through an immersive environment. (Photo: U.S. Army)

The Synthetic Training Environment will assess Soldiers in enhancing decision-making skills through an immersive environment. (Photo: U.S. Army)

“The U.S. Army’s vision for STE marks a monumental change in how they acquire, develop and deliver new simulation and virtual training technologies to soldiers,” said Pete Morrison, BISim’s co-CEO and chief product officer. “We’re honored to be selected to assist the Army in developing innovative solutions that will shape the future of how virtual training is used to enhance operational readiness.”

BISim has been developing its next generation of simulation technologies since 2014. The new technology suite includes a cutting-edge, military-specific whole-earth game engine, deterministic AI, an efficient geospatial terrain server and component-based development technology.

BISim technology underpins funded research and development for One World Terrain. Additionally, BISim recently demonstrated Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainer (RCVT) prototypes for STE. The latest OTA extension is a significant ramp up in the breadth and ambition of the technology being demonstrated.

BISim’s STE offering includes four core technologies uniquely suited to meeting future military simulation requirements (including U.S. Army requirements).

VBS Blue. A high-performance, whole-planet data ingestion and rendering engine with a very high level of procedural detail, designed to ingest any conceivable terrain data format as well as source data directly. VBS Blue will support networked (cloud) terrain paging and geo-specific insets as well as the latest graphics technologies. It provides photorealistic detail, and includes a massive vegetation library representing every region on Earth. The technology is highly applicable across all types of image generation and is optimized for many AR/VR applications.

STEWS. A geospatial data server that provides efficient networked access to the various data sources required for rendering applications. STEWS provides a curated database of terrain data layers that can be streamed into any STE-connected client application at run time (including non-BISim applications). Any application connected to STEWS can stream high fidelity terrain data in a performant manner. Both new and legacy terrain formats are supported through new STEWS plug-ins.

VBS Control. High fidelity, doctrinal and deterministic entity-level artificial intelligence that is uniquely suited to operation on whole-earth terrain. VBS Control runtime offers highly efficient real-time path planning that allows AI to move seamlessly through open, urban and interior spaces. The VBS Control Editor allows powerful new AI behaviors to be developed at both the individual entity level and at higher levels of command for land, sea and air assets.

Gears. A software development framework that defines a standard way for components to communicate through formal interfaces. Gears uses a component-based architecture to promote rapid development by building applications from self-contained systems and having them communicate via formally defined interfaces. This allows functionality to be reused and avoids the complexity of tightly coupled systems. See www.gears.studio for more information.

The Army also selected BISim for a five-year contract to support their Games for Training Program and BISim’s technology is being rolled out on CCTT (the U.S. Army’s largest ground simulator training program).

About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

1 Comment on "U.S. Army invests in virtual reality training"

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  1. A note in response to usage of “a component-based architecture to promote rapid development by building applications from self-contained systems … ” avoiding “the complexity of tightly coupled systems” thereby. With all due respect, that avoidance will also incur immense sacrifices in performance. Each of those self-contained systems furnishes outputs based only on its own limited perspective. Not only accuracy suffers but individual observations cannot be cross-checked for consistency.

    To exemplify the degradation of accuracy consider a pair of position sensors, one providing exact longitude but a kilometer of error in the north direction and the other with perfect latitude but east/west position off by a kilometer. Averaging them gives “only” 500 meters of error in both! For the absence of consistency checking, I’ll just cite today’s large and growing challenges from jamming and spoofing — and documented successes reported by using separate solution ingredients. Lack of integrity capability can be fatal.

    For decades our industry has forfeited performance AND flexibility AND economy through preference for conglomerations of self-contained systems rather than integration. Pages 14-15 of https://www.ion.org/publications/upload/v26n3.pdf discuss strong actions being taken to rectify that.

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