U.S. Army to Use Augmented Reality in High-Tech Boot Camp
Andrew Wheeler posted on August 14, 2017 | 2682 views

Global population trend analysis suggests that people are currently moving into cities in greater numbers. This trend will only increase in the future, so the importance of mastering urban warfare is of great importance in today’s complicated military environment.

The United States Army and researchers like those at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are always looking for ways to refine training methodology to help soldiers better prepare for the realities of combat. Training for urban warfare doesn’t seem possible in any comprehensive way. Physically, unless the U.S Army has access to an entire city, replicating a given city in the world seems extremely cost-prohibitive.

It’s easy to see how a virtual training simulation could help combat troops and other soldiers prepare for some of the challenges that require a massive and specific environment to improve their reaction times to different wartime stimuli. (Image courtesy of University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.)
It’s easy to see how a virtual training simulation could help combat troops and other soldiers prepare for some of the challenges that require a massive and specific environment to improve their reaction times to different wartime stimuli. (Image courtesy of University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.)

A joint effort was recently announced between the U.S Army Research Laboratory, the Combined Arms Center, and the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies,which will work to deliver what is called the Simulated Training Environment (STE).

The STE acts as a training environment that modulates between different operational environments, and can then be customized and used at deployment locations or combat training centers.

(Video courtesy of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.)

The hope is that the STE can give soldiers access to complex simulations of realistic combat scenarios, and that the U.S. Army can use the technology to tailor training to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. Personnel can assess and adjust training in real time, and the single open architecture will allow military entities to exchange and share a synthetic twin of different sea, space, cyberspace and land areas with different global partners.

But what does a trend indicating a move toward military training in immersive digital environments rather than expensive physical ones suggest?

Flight simulators have been used in the U.S Air Force for decades now, but does a digital simulation do foot soldiers a disservice in terms of their overall readiness?

Or will augmented reality help soldiers understand urban warfare in a way that makes them more prepared for the physical realities of combat?

Time will tell.


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