Making the battlefield look like Call of Duty
When you hear the words “AR Warfare”, first-person shooters and other video games may come to mind. The biggest AR (augmented reality) title to date is Pokemon Go but modern-day AR Warfare is far from catching a Bulbasaur. The technologies behind consumer AR and VR are advancing very quickly. It’s logical to think that the world’s great military powers already have things that would make our heads spin. Those attending the Defence and Security Equipment International Conference (DSEI 2017) understand the potential of AR on the battlefield. During this recent gathering in London, leading contractors and security experts gather to demo the latest gear. Augmented reality’s potential for enhancing situational awareness, using actionable data and reducing cognitive load did not go unnoticed. Welcome to the modern-day battlefield.
AR Warfare – Augmented Reality in Battle
Using AR on the battlefield isn’t really new. Military aviators have enjoyed the benefits of AR in the form of advanced heads-up display (HUD) options already. As AR grow more sophisticated, technical advancements make similar enhancements a reality for ground troops and other weapon systems.
Periods of global instability will yield a host of new obstacles to overcome and moments of opportunity to take advantage of. In a very short time, AR and related tech will inevitably be commonplace in areas of conflict.
Boots on the Ground
At DSEI 2017, industry leaders like BAE Systems illustrated how AR can help ground forces and their commander focus on critical data and minimize the amount of data used. A single HUD displaying actionable data, topographic information and the movements of both friend and foe is an invaluable tool. Augmented reality is being applied in a variety of amazing and innovative ways. Advancements in real-time image processing make in-depth threat libraries available at a glance and this is crucial when lives are on the line. Drones flying overhead deliver new perspectives and mission overlays can highlight key objectives.
Data from multiple sources is refined and presented in a way that promotes and preserves situational awareness. While the average consumer will have Google Glass, soldiers will employ something more detailed complete with night vision capabilities and a host of other sensors. A growing concern among skeptics is that a soldier employing AR under fire may be faced with too much information to focus on the mission. It’s up to developers to optimize systems to present data in a user-friendly and intuitive format. Currently, hardware is the major hangup as leading brands work to keep up with new software capabilities.
Transparent Vehicles and More
If you think I’m about to talk about Wonder Woman’s invisible jet you’re way off. BAE Systems has heavily invested in AR technology and demonstrate the capabilities they’re developing with the CV90 and other combat vehicles. The goal is to provide the personnel inside a maximum level of defense with completely unrestricted viewing in 360°. As sensor technology and real-time image recognition improve, a startling amount of data can be passed to a crew in the field. Gunners would no longer need to expose themselves to enemy fire and a wider range of threats could be assessed and targeted in far less time.
Naval forces around the globe are starting to look into augmented reality to enhance defensive capabilities for frigates and other vessels. Knowledge brings power and on the technological battlefield of the future, AR will have a place. Will an AR arms race drive further innovation?
The future of warfare is here.