It all began from them… Of course, virtual reality has its own story, but it is a constant search for (and use) of new technologies in the military that has led to the subsequent innovative use of VR in medicine and other areas.
I’m not an expert on military issues and I do not study the tactics of military strategists. I do not know the ranks, sections, or their language. But I do know that we deal with people who are trained in a specific way. Even if many activities are performed by ‘wise’ machines, there is always a man at the end of the chain; and, we cannot see or predict how soldiers will behave when they face real danger. Anyway, they are people, not the machines.
Fortunately, we do not wage spectacular wars. Although we do not live in times of peace and harmony, the scale of the conflicts is manageable. Not out of control. So, what does the army do? Of course, exercises.
Keeping soldiers in a constant state of readiness and discipline is important and you cannot avoid this necessity. Although there are types of soldiers who do not need additional hardware to exercise, the overwhelming majority of them requires aircrafts, ships, tanks, and weapons. Now, if we compare these two facts: continuous exercising and the need for modern, expensive equipment, we’ll see how much it costs.
One hour flight of F-16 costs in Poland about $20.000.
Multiply it a few dozen times, add ships and tanks plus an hour of training. The costs reach millions.
Not surprisingly, the army again turns to VR technology. It is already possible to successfully transfer the movement of the physical body to the virtual world. Then, you can observe the natural reactions of people to varying ambient conditions. The process of transferring military training to virtual reality entered a new stage in the US and is one of the key programs reducing costs of military training. If for the one hour training budget, you can create several well-equipped VR stations, there is no reason to hesitate.
Of course, it’s not just about reducing costs. Security, flexibility, repeatability are also important. The list of particularly dangerous jobs that need the VR technology support is long. Not only for cost savings, but also for safety. If there are ways to minimize the risk of loss of life – VR is a must.