1. You will be speaking at ITEC 2019; can you give us a brief insight into what areas you will be covering in your address?
I used to be an instructor at the “Centro de Instrução Almirante Sylvio de Camargo”, where the Brazilian Marine Officers improve their knowledge to learn how to produce military documents like Operational plans. One of the most important part of it is how to explore the terrain advantages, taking better combat conditions and make the enemy give up. This program is a result of studies about what can make the students comprehension better about those aspects.
With the arrival of industry 4.0, we began to think about the capabilities of today´s machines. One of them is to develop new ways to make training for military personnel as close to reality as possible. Based on this thinking, reproducing stress at a level that is necessary for the trainee to make decisions during simulation, and based on doctrine, with the possibility of correcting the actions taken in real time is possible and necessary to prevent future collateral damage.
Through immersion into a Virtual Environment, reproducing a region with accuracy will enable great conditions for a better performance, making possible a production of suitable, achievable and acceptable plans with higher quality. Due to resources that in real world are not possible just by looking at a place (like draw on the terrain to explain or place a platoon), the results of that interaction will bring benefits in a military point of view.
We will talk about a solution to improve the study of the terrain using Virtual Reality, giving the possibility for training and provide better preparation before going to a real place, showing in the presentation algorithms and technologies that provide immersion for students into a Virtual terrain and possibilities of military use with its benefits.
2. What do you think the major challenges are in developing military training and simulation?
Going to field exercises with the students is a very expensive activity because we have to consider displacements, accommodations, food and other aspects. By providing a chance to learn and practice before the real exercise we are preparing and improving them before and with that obtaining better results. The possibility to review the subject later is also a good way to fix mistakes committed by students. As our country is very big and we have troops scattered all over, we are moving forward to provide a platform that creates the possibility to make it mobile, easy to use and with the capability to teach and evaluate them by distance.
In general, when you train in a Virtual Reality environment, you need as much reality as possible for the trainees (this includes NPC (Non Player Character) behavior and huge terrain detail), so students really think they are in that place. This should be not a game for them, so they can feel the stress of being in a real combat scene and take action based on what they learned. The time to correct is while they are studying - anything that they do in the real world will be permanent.
Our major challenge today is to provide that stress feeling in the Military Planning Process by giving “real” conditions for the planners to demonstrate decision capability through a judicious study of the terrain, making possible corrections of analysis or exposing points of view in a way that is difficult to do in a field exercise.
3. How has the industry changed over the past few years and how do you expect military training to evolve in the future? What new areas will it need to cover?
What we´ve seen is that we can use an Virtual Machine based on the other side of the world, dealing with a big amount of data processing and the need for a fast response, sometimes using computer graphics, machine learning and other areas of the industry 4.0. Some exercises that usually need significant logistics can be simulated with each part on its own site, centralized in a “center of simulations” using cloud computing. Some things will never override the real exercise, but you can simulate it first, for training, then go for the real action.
I think we need to improve the “game immersion” for trainees during exercises. When we realise we’re playing a game while training everything goes down. It has to be serious, it has to be hard and make them fail. So when they undertake the real mission they will be better prepared and remember the lessons learned of mistakes made during training.
4. What technologies and drivers do you think are currently having the most significant impact on development?
With the need for more active environments, more realistic areas and interactions against NPCs, it’s important for equipment to support high amounts of FPS (Frames Per Second), and development of technics focusing on the reduction of motion sickness (that can negatively influence the evolution of a game). It’s also important to increase hardware speed processing and gear to improve image processing for better 3D terrain models, as well as developing different hardware sensors to adapt the different needs and optimization technics helping to improve the hardware response, all according to the requirements of different military doctrines.
The “competition” between hardware improvements and software updates makes technologies become obsolete very fast. This acceleration makes new machines very expensive and also renders them “old” in a short time. Making updates efficient is a good way to increase the durability and, with that, the instructor’s knowledge and experience about the equipment.
Today’s machines are getting more efficient day by day. The capacity to learn and react is not just for the living. A simulation, to deploy the most real experience possible, has to think and act like an adverse force. Artificial Intelligence with machine learning can provide that and give its contribution in a significant way. All that integration, associated with mixed reality, can be an exciting path.
5. What can delegates expect to take away from your session?
We are working on a solution to improve the study of tactics and its influence dictated by aspects of the terrain, and will demonstrate to delegates how important it is to prepare our personnel using realistic tools and its concept to make better planners. They will be motivated with the use of the simulator that we propose, and its utility validated through experiments and individual experiences on the military study added the experience on simulating development of the authors.
We are looking forward to carrying out excellent exercises every day with a focus on better preparing personnel to take place on conflicts – that means making not just decisions, but the correct ones. By developing this learning tool we believe that we can better prepare them to produce good quality plans and better advise their superiors to accomplish the mission with less collateral damage and more efficiency.