Army Tests New Integrated Visual Augmentation System

By |“This is cutting-edge technology. It is going to transform the way we train Soldiers and the way Soldiers operate in combat. We’re excited about it.”  is how General James C. McConville described the army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System to the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on readiness.

The Integrated Visual Augmentation System is an augmented reality training system currently in development. Described as the Army’s new battlefield heads-up display. Working with Microsoft, leveraging their HoloLens technology the Army hopes to use it not just as a training tool but also on the battlefield. Microsoft won the contract to help develop the system back in November 2018, with the purchase of as many as 100,000 IVAS devices possible under the contract. SRI International were recently awarded a contract for development support of a low-light-level CMOS image sensor as part of the IVAS’s night vision element.

The Army’s new Futures Command is leading the way developing the new IVAS tech, with limited troop testing beginning last month with Army and USMC troops trialling the equipment.

What Can IVAS Do?

The technology is still at a very early stage of development, with on of the testers describing it as being at the first 5% stage in terms of development. But from what the army has released we know that the IVAS is capable of aiding in navigation by allowing the user to see their and their squadmates’ positions on a superimposed map, training by overlaying VR targets and IVAS also incorporates a white phosphorous-based thermal imaging system.

General McConville continued, explaining that “what it’s going to allow our Soldiers to do is to go into (augmented) reality and train on a mission they’re about ready to accomplish,” McConville said. “It’s real. They can practice. They can rehearse, they can hit the sled a whole bunch of times and they can actually take the equipment that we’re developing and go and execute the mission.”
While the technology is still in development the Army describe it as ‘rapidly evolving’ and hope to field the system for the first time by the end of FY2021.

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