Could Virtual Reality Save The US Military Money And Lives?

In Tech by UFSocial Staff

by Kristina Hines, UFSocial Contributor

One of the top users of virtual reality platforms is the US military, particularly in combat, flight and drill simulators. These systems put forces to the test in creating realistic emergency situations.

Cubic is a provider of such VR solutions, describing itself as an “industry leader in providing realistic air and ground combat training systems, secure communications, operations, maintenance, technical and other support services for the U.S. and allied nations.”

Cubic develops its systems with the goal of adequately preparing Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors for combat, incidents in the air and emergencies such as shipboard fires and flooding. My husband is a deployed, active duty Sailor and quite recently, the 15th MEU (Marine expeditonary unit) attached to his ship completed more than 2 weeks combat readiness training in Kuwait, including simulation exercises. While on site training remains essential right now, with the speed in which our technology is evolving, it may not be that way for long.

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit outside Camp Beuhring, Kuwait.  (Official USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy T. Parish)

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit outside Camp Beuhring, Kuwait. (Official USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy T. Parish)

Not only in terms of accessibility for service members in training, but from a cost perspective – both dollars and lives – virtual reality just makes sense. Do you know how many accidents occurred with Naval aircraft that resulted in fatality, permanent disability or over $2 in damages in 2014?  Fourteen.

One accident in particular, in September 2014 on a San Diego based ship, USS Carl Vinson, resulted in a loss of a life and over 149 million dollars when 2 FA-18 aircraft collided during a training mission in the Pacific. This doesn’t include accidents involving Marine aircraft. A recently deployed Marine unit, attached to the ESSEX Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), lost 2 Marines and an aircraft when the V-22 they were in experienced a hard landing in Hawaii less than two weeks into their 7-9 month deployment.

The Navy Times reports that roughly two-thirds of accidents have been attributed to pilot error, and it has been questioned if pilots need more training time, but the cost to fly these aircraft and to pull a ship out of port can be millions of dollars spent each and every time.

Virtual reality has the ability to reduce our defense spending significantly, if it can get to the point where it is highly accurate in immersion of the user.

In fact, the Florida National Guard uses Cubic’s VR platforms to maintain training requirements for Soldiers.

Is virutal reality successful in this manner?  I’d say so; check out Cubric’s recognition awards. Would I buy in?  You bet. In fact, I’d love to see the organization reach into the human resources arena for employee training purposes. What better way to ensure our employees are best prepared for every situation?

For example, something such as an accidental export can trigger millions of dollars in fines. Organizations that do business globally spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime producing training videos and presentations to address export policies and regulations, yet people often forget the data soon after and the company faces fines for accidental violations. It would be a more effective use of training to immerse the employee in the situation so they can relate back to that experience when deciding how to navigate a difficult export situation.

Cory Ondrejka by Joi / CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Cory Ondrejka by Joi / CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

As the co-creator of Second Life and current Engineering VP at Facebook, Cory Ondrejka says, “We are evolved to operate in 3D spaces. You can name and locate 1,000 things scattered around an apartment, but you can’t remember the file structure on your computer or the files on your desktop. We are very good at remembering spatial environments.”




(Featured Image: A Marine with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit exits a helicopter. Official USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy T. Parish.)

About the Author

Kristina Hines resides in sunny San Diego where she is contracted as the Communications Manager for the AeroPower division of Pratt & Whitney, a UTC company and one of the world’s leaders in design, manufacturing and servicing of aircraft engines and auxiliary power units. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Delaware, has over 10 years of strategic leadership experience in internal communications and human resources, and volunteers as a Navy Family Ombudsman for her husband’s command.

About the Author

UFSocial Staff