By Lauren Biron, Defense News, March 22, 2013
The U.S. Army wants virtual-world and simulation technology capable of supporting at least five times the number of concurrent users than is possible today. To develop technology that can bring mass virtual exercises to life, the Army Research Laboratory’s Simulation and Training Technology Center is working with Intel Corp. in a cooperative research and development agreement.
ARL hopes the union will allow STTC and Intel to “collaborate and optimize research in virtual training environments,” according to an news release earlier today. Developers at Intel are working on technology that can scale up the level of users, interaction, realism and immersion. Partnering with STTC should give researchers a more direct connection to the soldiers that will eventually use that technology.
“It is our belief that virtual-world technology may be used to achieve the goal of full-spectrum operations during mission rehearsal exercises,” said Doug Maxwell, science and technology manager at the STTC. “This partnership is the first step to show that more than 1,000 users can operate in the same space and at the same time to achieve a realistic mission.”
The increased complexity of simulations and number of simultaneous users are expected to create more immersive training events in line with the goals of the U.S. Army Learning Concept for 2015.
Maxwell said that creating massive, multi-user virtual worlds that accurately represent the operational environment will “require a massive increase in simulation scalability and flexibility.”
Most simulations or virtual environments currently used for training focus on the small-unit level, around 40 soldiers or fewer. However, the Army also conducts larger training exercises by combining virtual worlds with live-fire exercises and constructive simulations in projects such as the Integrated Training Environment.