VR and AR app development has become a real breakthrough in the gaming industry. These terms, which were just a futuristic idea not so long ago, have recently become more than just a distant concept from a sci-fi book or movie. If you think VR/AR simulators are for entertainment only, you are mistaken. The pool of use cases keeps expanding, attracting more industries to apply AR/VR technologies. The military and defense industry is among the leaders in the line for getting VR technology into action.
Talking about the evolution of VR, this process has always been impacted by the military industry to a significant extent. These two fields are closely connected and mutually dependent. VR technology gets more and more critical for the military industry, and the military industry, in turn, invests huge sums of money into the development of virtual reality applications, VR headsets, and VR platforms. Let’s dig deeper into this topic and find out what makes VR an integral part of military training, and discover the main use cases for VR in the military field.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are incredibly realistic and immersive simulations of a three-dimensional environment. These technologies are widely applied for military training so military and defense are one of the most important application fields. This practice can be logically explained – using VR and AR provides a lot of fundamental benefits.
Risk-free soldier training
Military training with the help of VR is a common use case. The innovative technology provides something more than just theory training. The variety of possible exercises is broad enough – from firing exercises to a full-scale combat mission simulation. These are too expensive, too complex, too long, and too dangerous to be performed in real life. VR is the perfect solution here. With a VR headset and controllers, trainees are completely immersed in virtual environments. For instance, you can have a flight simulator overlaid with a virtual world rendering an actual battlefield for complete pilot training. All the user’s senses can be stimulated to fully recreate the pilot training. Equipped with a VR headset and true-to-life guns, trainees can model different warfare scenarios and experience various environments due to the apps’ simple configuration.
What about driving vehicles in terms of combat training?
VR apps make it possible to experience literally any type of vehicle in a way more realistic way than using a mouse and keyboard or even a driving simulator wheel. With a VR headset, soldiers can test a vehicle for maneuverability on various terrain types and under different weather conditions. They also can try any role like a driver, runner, hostage, etc.
What is the best thing about applying VR technology for combat training? It’s safe and efficient. You can recreate all the necessary conditions without endangering anyone. The risks are eliminated here. Additionally, such sim training can be conducted quickly and more frequently. Though VR headsets are not cheap, buying them is still less expensive than buying a real tank, paying for fuel, transporting and maintaining trainees, etc.
Gaming for military training
It may sound strange a bit, but the gaming experience is currently actively applied for combat training. VR developers have managed to bring the games for soldiers to a whole new level. Using various devices and VR software including CAVE systems, motion trackers, and real-to-life equipment like vests and guns, close-to-combat scenarios can be recreated. This allows soldiers to quickly change their training type within a relatively small area. VR apps simulate different types of stimuli (noise, light, vibration) and a user’s adaptation to them. Simultaneously, sensors are connected to a person and the stress level is monitored in real-time.
Creating military equipment with VR
VR happens to be an effective tool for conceiving, manufacturing, and optimizing various types of military equipment. VR speeds up product development for new weapons or military installations and improves their overall effectiveness and quality. It allows for immersive visualization and interaction for running tests (e.g. vehicles can be tested in different climatic and environmental conditions).
Healing from PTSD
Yes, VR is applied even for PTSD recovery therapy. PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. This is what, unfortunately, most soldiers gone through wars and conflicts suffer from. It takes time for them to recover and come back to normal life. However, some of them struggle to recover on their own so they need special help. VR applications are used for relaxation in terms of programs providing help for such soldiers. A new therapy method also involves recreating past combat scenarios with a VR headset. This is safe and helps people to experience those moments again and overcome their fears. At the same time, such VR apps allow monitoring of the psychophysiological state of a person.
To sum up, integrating VR technology into the military area proves to be quite beneficial. The main advantages are as follows:
- VR training reduces the expenditures related to transportation, maintenance, fueling, ammunition, and so on. Additionally, app update is cheap, too. For VR, a software update is enough. There is no need to update the physical component of the simulator.
- High level of efficiency. Spend less time but reach better progress.
- Flexibility and simple configuration. VR along with AR offers a wide range of training possibilities without any limitations or restrictions.
- Risk-free training. Recreating war scenarios in real life always involves a bit of danger. With VR/AR technology soldiers can foster their skills safely.
Still, there are always pros and cons. We wouldn’t like to call it drawbacks – rather a few points which need to be improved and worked thoroughly on. As VR/AR technology is developing at a crazy high speed, we are sure these issues will be solved in the nearest time.
Solving the security issue must be prioritized as leaking or stealing of any classified information can lead to unprecedented consequences.
Among the limitations of using VR headsets is cybersickness. “Tricking” one’s brain for too long causes motion sickness.
Last but not least – there are still a number of aspects needing improvements. Creating a simulator for complex war scenarios takes a lot of time, money, effort, and skills. However, VR software development is evolving quickly. The number of VR development companies focusing on developing apps for the military and defense keeps growing all over the globe.
So, is bringing VR technology into military training a good idea? Yes, it is. This leads to optimizing budget and time as well as boosting efficiency.