Tech Tuesday: Training Fighter Pilots in AR with Red 6
Published on Apr 11, 2023 by Jess Reider
Sheena Fowler – Hall of Fame inductee and Vice President of Strategic Engagements and Business Development at Red 6 – discusses military training applications for AR.
Augmented reality, often associated with gaming and play, can serve a variety of purposes outside of the entertainment industry. From manufacturing and training to medical applications, AR allows users to experience real-world simulations that reduce costs and increase accessibility. For the team at Red 6, that means building AR training applications for the United States military.
In this edition of Tech Tuesday, host Dr. Haifa Maamar is joined by Full Sail University Film and Entertainment Business graduate, Hall of Fame inductee, and Vice President of Strategic Engagements and Business Development at Red 6, Sheena Fowler, to discuss how Red 6 has redefined the limits of how the world will experience, share, and interact with military training information.
Why Augmented Reality?
“When I found Red 6, I fell head over heels in love with the capability of progressing augmented reality to the ends of the Earth to see what we could do and seeing different worlds in which we could take it in, not only in defense but beyond,” shares Sheena, who spent a decade in economic development bringing tech companies to the Orlando region.
Located in Orlando – the largest modeling, simulation, and training sector in the country with over $6.5 billion in simulation contracts – Red 6 has developed a military training platform that blends augmented reality and artificial intelligence and uses both indoor and outdoor spaces as a medium to produce realistic training simulations for service men and women in the air.
“Knowing that we have these types of advanced technologies that we’re using for entertainment and play purposes, to not use them for this type of training is just a shame,” says Sheena. “That was one of the things that I was most attracted to about Red 6, it wasn’t just augmented reality, it wasn’t just, ‘Let’s just create the next cool AR tool.’ It was, ‘We have a clear purpose and the answer is augmented reality.’”
Applying the Tech
The company’s flagship product ATARS (Advanced Tactical Augmented Reality System) combined with the EVE (Enhanced Visual Environment) headset and proprietary patented AR software developed in Unreal Engine allows the team at Red 6 to give pilots unparalleled training simulations at a fraction of the traditional cost. Instead of sending up multiple pilots in multiple aircraft to simulate combat situations (which can cost nearly $40,000 per hour, per pilot,) the Red 6 platform allows a pilot to experience the widest field of view with the brightest augmented reality lens on the market to replicate those same potential combat situations.
“It’s amazing when you get former military or active military to fly with the system and see it for the first time," says Sheena. "These are people that have spent 30, 40 years in their field. To watch them pull the headset off when they land to say, ‘That tricked me, I really thought that plane was there.’ And that is the purpose of augmented reality… to make such an immersive experience that you forget the tech. The tech should melt and now you’re left with an experience that makes you feel like you’re in the real situation, that is how you increase readiness.”
Continuing to Develop AR & Training
Red 6 continues to develop new training to increase readiness working with the US military and Disney’s Accelerator program to create innovative solutions for fighter pilot training.
“These are really phenomenal pilots, the best of the best. And how do you train the best? You give them a tool that meets them where they are and it challenges them with data. It’s not just a perspective on how you perform. It’s science that meets them at their peak performance.”
Check out the full Tech Tuesday panel on Red 6 below.
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