he British Army has awarded a contract to Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a global developer of advanced military simulation and training software, to demonstrate the art of the possible using virtual reality, machine learning and cloud computing for the Army’s Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP). The pilot has been made available through the Defence Innovation Fund, MOD investment into innovation.
BISim will work under the VR In-Land Training (VRLT) Pilot Programme, a British Army CTTP initiative charged with exploring the use of VR for collective land warfare training and identifying the potential benefits and effectiveness of VR for military training and simulation. The VRLT Programme will help make recommendations on the impact, affordability, innovation and exploitation of VR for UK defence training.
BISim will help deliver a series of training events for the pilot programme demonstrating VR and MR (mixed reality) capabilities using BISim products. The training events will use VBS3, BISim’s flagship desktop training software, VBS Blue IG, the company’s high-performance whole-earth image generation software, and VBS STE, a prototype whole-earth desktop trainer that combines the power of the VBS3 simulation engine with high-fidelity VBS Blue IG visuals.
As part of the announcement of BISim being awarded the pilot contract, Brigadier Bobby Walton-Knight CBE, Head of Training Capability for the British Army and the Collective Training Transformation Programme Director, commented: ‘The British Army is always looking to see how technology can support capability. Working with Bohemia Interactive Simulations, and their partner organisations, this is an exciting opportunity to see how we can take advantage of a blend of real and virtual training to better train and prepare our soldiers for current and future operations.’
BISim has subcontracted Cervus Defence and Security Ltd, a UK company with expertise in capturing and leveraging defence training data, to illustrate the potential benefits of data capture and machine learning-driven analytics for military training. BISim will also demonstrate innovative technology to show how the cloud can be used and how BISim products and Army training systems can work from the cloud.
“With BISim‘s strengths in virtual simulation, image generation, and VR, its knowledge of the British Army and defence domain, and its key role in the U.S. Army’s STE (Synthetic Training Environment) programme, we are very well placed to work with the British Army to deliver VRLT and ensure that, should the technology show promise, it can be introduced coherently with other training and simulation systems,” said Rusty Orwin, BISim’s UK Head of Sales. “We’re also pleased to work together with Cervus, a company that has considerable experience in data analysis and training event design and assessment through their national and international work, including the Army and Niteworks.”
Cervus Defence’s HIVE Insight Engine will be configured to receive collective training data from VBS3, VBS Blue IG and VBS STE. HIVE is a COTS Training Measurement and Evaluation (TM&E) service that harvests and categorizes a large variety of individual and collective training data, processing this information and analyzing it before delivering insights using machine learning and visual reporting tools.
“As a specialist company, we are bringing a set of innovative data capture and analysis techniques in support of this pilot. We are looking forward to demonstrating our TM&E credentials in a UK virtual environment and supporting the VRLT team in providing evidence-based insights into the impacts of Virtual Reality in training,” said Alan Roan, Cervus’ Managing Director.
BISim began exploring the potential of VR for defence training in 2013 starting with the Oculus Rift DK1. By 2015, BISim’s VBS3 offered out-of-the-box support for the Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE support was added in 2016 through the Open VR (OSVR) SDK. VBS Blue IG (a high-performance, CIGI-compliant, 3D whole-earth image generator) was introduced in 2018 and is ideally suited for VR applications. BISim started working on VR directly with military customers towards the end of 2015, most significantly with the U.S. Navy on a VR-based pilot training system that included virtual hand gestures generated through the Leap Motion system. BISim’s work in this domain has expanded to evaluating and developing augmented (AR) and mixed reality (MR) systems for other military organisations.
About Bohemia Interactive Simulations
Founded in 2001, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) is a global software company at the forefront of simulation and training solutions for defence and civilian organizations. Our mission is to harness the explosive potential of technology to revolutionize training and simulation. BISim utilizes the latest game-based technology and a large, experienced in-house team of engineers to develop high-fidelity, cost-effective training and simulation software products and components for defence applications.