A new “mixed-reality” system developed by Rockwell Collins could greatly improve the fidelity and accuracy of military training, a company executive said.
The product — called Coalescence — is made up of a virtual reality head-mounted display and a synthetic environment, said Nick Gibbs, interim vice president and general manager of simulation and training solutions at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company.
“It’s really to enhance human interactive training,” he said.
The immersive system can be used in a variety of scenarios, he said. During the National Training and Simulation Association’s annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, the company demonstrated a helicopter gunnery simulation.
During the demo, a soldier wearing a head-mounted display could interact with a weapon while Coalescence created a simulated environment, he said.
“If you had the Coalescence on and you were looking around you would see the interior of the helicopter, you would see out the window of the helicopter with the door open. You would see the ground below, the convoys moving,” he said.
Additionally, a user could “reload, interact with, handle [and] hold the actual weapon itself as opposed to a simulated version of the weapon,” Gibbs said.
The system can also be used for training with aircraft, ships, submarines, tanks and vehicles, he noted.
Coalescence takes advantage of commercial products, he added. “The architecture enables us to really use any head-worn display device,” he said. “We also can use multiple game engines and/or image generators.”
The system has low latency, which increases the fidelity of the simulation and decreases the risk of motion sickness, the company said.
Rockwell Collins has plans to improve the system by adding depth-sensing technology. It has already hosted demonstrations with customers around the world, including military and commercial entities, but Gibbs declined to specify which ones.
Coalescence will go into production at the end of 2017, with delivery in 2018, he added.
Photo: Rockwell Collins