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Virtual Reality - a Solution to Reduce Training Costs?

By Antoine Rivard
CEO of Aperium
Jan 7th 2020
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Originally published by Aperium on LinkedIn.

When it comes to military training and simulation, agencies and organizations are willing to go to great lengths to maximize immersion, realism, and accuracy. Under most circumstances, live training is the “go to” solution, whereby trainees are mixed in with actors in a mocked-up environment and exposed to situations they are likely to encounter in the field.

These live training scenarios provide near-reality experiences in terms of visuals, sounds, interactions, and procedures. They allow trainees to become deeply immersed and to practice, accurately and specifically, the tasks they will have to perform when faced with a real-life situation.

However, live training comes at a tremendous cost. From construction and maintenance of the multiple environments required to represent multiple scenarios, to the actors’ wages and instructors’ salaries, and the overhead cost of transporting trainees to and from such training facilities, it all amounts to an astounding expenditure.

Presagis knows that bringing together live, virtual, and constructive training components is not a simple task. By integrating our suite of tools and solutions with the K-01 Pod, we are directly able to respond to the training simulation needs of today’s warfighters. -Eric Simon, Vice-President Product Management, Presagis

With military budget allocations under intense scrutiny, it begs the question: why is live training so highly prioritized? Can we justify the resources required to conduct complex, live, large-scale combat scenarios? The public is already asking such questions, and, therefore, it is important to consider alternatives wherever possible. Hence, over the past few decades, industry trends have shown that it is possible to progressively and cautiously transfer core elements of live training curriculums over to digital counterparts.

Virtual training has already been shown to complement live training very effectively. Not only is it cheaper, safer, but it also offers repeatable and controlled scenarios that can be recorded, played back, and studied from different perspectives to allow trainees to analyze their mistakes and learn from them.

Now, what if we could move beyond the complimentary and find a way to combine the benefits of live training with the virtues of the virtual?

Aperium's K01-Pod allows unlimited freedom of movement in an extremely immersive environment.

With virtual reality (VR), this is now becoming accessible. We have seen great advances in the technology, and these are only the tip of the digital iceberg. VR today enables physical interactions in a virtual environment, empowering trainees to experience a near-limitless amount of experiences; such as urban tactical operations, tunnel navigation, or challenging forest patrols–all from the convenience and safety of their current location.

At Aperium, we may not have invented VR—but our team has taken the simulation aspects of this medium to new places by allowing trainees to interact naturally within a dynamic, large-scale simulation. Our interactive motion platform allows professionals from all trades to educate and train like never before, and to connect and engage their users in innovative new ways.

At I/ITSEC 2019, Aperium has collaborated with Epic Games, Offworld Industries and Presagis to demonstrate how effective VR can be when combined with the right technologies and expertise.

At Epic, we strive towards creating experiences where the real, and Unreal, meet. The K-01 Pod adds new levels of immersion, making those worlds seem, and feel, more tangible than we may have thought. -Sebastien Loze, Industry Manager - Simulation at Epic Games

To enable a trainees’ motion, we provided the K-01 Pod—which delivers coherent physicality in large-scale virtual worlds. What makes the K-01 Pod unique is its state-of-the-art control system that allows users to completely forget they are on a treadmill after only a few seconds of walking.

For audiovisual immersion, we chose HTC’s Vive Pro VR headset for its ease of integration, tracking precision and audiovisual quality - which provides a tangible context that deeply immerses the user. Both Aperium demonstrations have been made with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, which allows training-solution providers and subject-matter experts to easily develop realistic, and complex, scenarios based on a custom curriculum.

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The Dismounted Immersive Ground Motion VR Trainer is based on the Aperium K-01 Pod technology and uses Presagis expertise to implement scenarios, sensors, and other LVC training elements.