Tech

April 5, 2013

Virtual window provides vital view for soldiers

army-virtual1
DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — Army researchers are looking for ways to give soldiers a look outside using cameras and monitors.

To provide better situational awareness for Bradley Fighting Vehicle Infantrymen, a cross-discipline team of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command engineers is developing the Virtual window – a video display mounted to the interior of the rear ramp that provides the soldiers a comprehensive environmental view before they dismount the vehicle.

Contemporary military vehicles, such as the family of Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, have several transparent armored windows soldiers can use to survey the area around them. When Soldiers ride in a Bradley, they’re surrounded by protective armor and cannot see the area around them or know what they will encounter outside the vehicle once the rear ramp is lowered and they deploy.
army-virtual2
The virtual window display helps minimize surprise when the ramp descends and the crew deploys out from the vehicle. Soldiers can step on the reinforced screen without damaging it as they exit the vehicle.

“We integrated a high-definition camera onto the rear of a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, and then integrated a commercial 46-inch LED display into the ramp,” said Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center engineer Andrew Kerbrat. “The video feed from the camera appears on the display, which gives soldiers the ability to see outside the vehicle with the ramp closed. This visual situational awareness could be a game-changer in how the Soldier proceeds out of the vehicle.”
army-virtual3
To generate ideas for the Virtual window design, the project team organized an Innovations Solutions training event consisting of design students and professors from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, plus Army Warrant Officers from the U.S. Army Ordnance School who provided their experience and technical knowledge to the students who created numerous sketches for the virtual window concept. A second Innovations Solutions Workshop is being planned for this May.

As a follow-up to the workshop, the team has already started working on Virtual Window 2, which expands the system’s capabilities and will be integrated into and tested on a Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle.

Possible enhancements for the Virtual Window 2 phase could involve driver and commander crew stations connected to the new display system to provide broader levels of situational awareness for the four-member squad, including:

  • 360-degree visual situational awareness through electro-optical sensors.
  • Thermal viewer through a commander’s Gimbal for medium range situational awareness (CITV-like) capability
  • Unmanned Ground Vehicle Command and Control with video feed displayed on the Virtual window
  • Video feed from a remote Soldier camera fed back to an ICV and displayed on screen
  • Remote mission planning from a tablet provided to the virtual window
  • Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below capability displays

“We are trying to move the technology toward the idea of the vehicle as a member of the squad,” Kerbrat said.

The technology concept can be applied to other vehicles as well, he said.

“Not all vehicles would be able to take a wholly integrated system, but some subsystem technologies have relevance in current and future vehicles,” he said. “For example, we’re using versions of the Soldier Machine Interfaces for many projects ranging from command and control of small unmanned ground vehicles all the way to integration into MRAP vehicles involved in today’s fight.”

The project involves an integrated team effort that bridges several TARDEC technical areas, including Ground Systems Survivability, Ground Vehicle Robotics, Vehicle Electronics and Architecture, Ground Vehicle Power and Mobility’s battery team and the Center for Systems Integration.

The group worked with the Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, provided the sensor suite that allowed the team to employ many capabilities for the Virtual Window 2 phase. CERDEC also helped develop and integrate base technologies for the system.

TARDEC’s Ground Systems Engineering, Assessment and Assurance team provided vehicle information for Virtual Window 1 and set up the first Innovations Solutions Workshop, Kerbrat said. Also, the Maintenance Operations Center provided training space and storage, and assisted with related maintenance issues.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA photograph

NASA, partners test unmanned aircraft systems

NASA photograph NASA’s Ikhana is being used to test a system that will allow uncrewed aircraft to fly routine operations within the National Airspace System. NASA, working with government and industry partners, is testing...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA-developed air traffic management tool flies into use

NASA photograph NASA Future Flight Central is a national Air Traffic Control/Air Traffic Management (ATC/ATM) simulation facility. The two-story facility offers a 360-degree full-scale, real-time simulation of an airport, where...
 
 
NASA photograph

Robotics teams prepare to compete for $1.5 million in NASA Challenge

NASA photograph The Los Angeles team Survey’s robot is seen as it conducts a demonstration of the level two challenge during the 2014 NASA Centennial Challenges Sample Return Robot Challenge, Thursday, June 12, 2014, at t...
 

 

NASA invests in future of aviation with supersonic research projects

Quieter, greener supersonic travel is the focus of eight studies selected by NASAís Commercial Supersonic Technology Project to receive more than $2.3 million in funding for research that may help overcome the remaining barriers to commercial supersonic flight. The research, which will be conducted by universities and industry, will address sonic booms and high-altitude emissions...
 
 
afrl-sensors

Sensors Directorate co-sponsors autonomous aerial vehicle competition

Members from the University of Toledo, Ohio, team make adjustments to their multirotor aircraft prior to the autonomous aerial vehicle competition. The Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate hosted the event April 28...
 
 
NASA photograph by David C. Bowman

NASA’s Langley Research Center named Vertical Flight Heritage Site

NASA photograph by David C. Bowman In a May 8ceremony, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, was formally designated a Vertical Flight Heritage Site by the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International. F...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>