Aptima, a developer of training and simulation tools, has announced that it is developing a new training game in conjunction with the US Army Research Institute and partners Trideum Corp, ASTi, KINEX Inc., and Imprimis, Inc. The Night Vision Tactical Trainer – Shadow (NVTT-Shadow) aims to strengthen teaming skills for Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) operations and is designed to prepare unmanned aerial system (UAS) operators to effectively communicate and coordinate with pilots of manned helicopters, ground commanders, and other manned assets.
“Despite the term ‘unmanned,’ aerial systems require human operators, who increasingly are doing more than simply flying them,” said Kevin Sullivan, Aptima’s NVTT-Shadow project lead and VP of Operations. While UAS training prepares operators to fly platforms and operate payloads, such as capturing surveillance imagery, the evolution of MUM-T has placed greater emphasis on real-time collaboration with helicopter pilots. “Teaming is the operable word, which is predicated on skillful, timely human-to-human interaction, with the right party communicating the right information at the right time,” added Sullivan.
Funded through a Department of the Army Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) contract, the simulator utilizes the Army’s ONESAF game engine and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) speech recognition technology, providing the Army a lower-cost, readily accessible training vehicle that can be used from any Internet-connected computer. By incorporating synthetic entities and natural language processing that emulates voice and chat interactions, an individual UAS operator can practice communications and coordination in teaming scenarios, without requiring live pilots and other participants.
Aptima’s PM Engine™ software is integrated into the virtual trainer for performance measurement that guides trainees and enhances their learning. Its algorithms, tailored for natural language processing, evaluate trainee communications for completeness, accuracy, order, brevity, and timeliness of the interactions. While in the past live observers have been required to assess trainees using checklists, PM Engine automates objective performance measurement, and provides instructors with detailed assessments for after action reviews.
NVTT-Shadow has been demonstrated and will be evaluated at the UAS Training Battalion at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, the largest UAS training center in the world.