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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

13 May 2014

AUVSI 2014: MetaVR Provides Excellent UAS Simulation Training Software

MetaVR's visualisation software (Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG)) and geospatial tools are used for applications such as UAS trainers, manned flight simulators, mission planning and rehearsal, JTAC simulation training, urban operations training, and emergency management training.

VRSG is used in the US Army's SHADOW Crew Trainer, and GREY EAGLE, HUNTER, and AEROSONDE trainers at Fort Huachuca, AZ, and other training sites. Find out more.

AAI's SHADOW TADSS deskstop training suite. (Photo: AAI)

Also the US Army uses VRSG in Universal Mission Simulators (UMS) for UAS within the Army's Training Aids, Devices, Simulators, and Simulations (TADSS) training suite. The simulator is the next generation simulator in support of the Army’s new Universal Ground Control System (UGCS); it incorporates multifunctional software approaches to provide UAS operators with a high-fidelity training experience for individual, crew, and collective training for piloting SHADOW, GRAY EAGLE, and HUNTER UAVs. Find out more.

MetaVR provides geographically specific high-resolution 3D terrain and 3D entity models that customers use to generate both simulated UAV video feed and geo-referenced still-frame imagery. VRSG can stimulate actual ISR assets with its real-time H.264 video generation with embedded KLV metadata using either EG 601 or MISB 104.5 standards. In this way, VRSG can generate video feeds that do not differ in format and contents from the actual data feeds from autonomously manned systems.

A key feature of VRSG use in UAV simulation its thermal sensor imagery, which portrays the synthetic environment of a simulated device with true perspective and real-time responses to the movement of a vehicle and its sensor. VRSG's physics-based IR capability is the real-time computation of the IR sensor image directly from the visual scene, with no off-line precomputation or data storage requirements. This real-time model combines automatic material classification of visual RGB imagery, and a physics-based IR radiance and sensor model. Users can generate an infrared profile of their terrain to suit the training conditions. As the resolution of the imagery increases so does the resulting sensor simulation. Find out more.

Feedback from UAV operator trainers led us to develop VRSG's physics-based IR simulation capability and our new VRSG Scenario Editor.
Scenario Editor enables a user to build up dense scenes on their terrain with realistic visual characteristics and pattern-of-life scenarios to play back in VRSG. With accuracy and precision users can place and refine static culture and script the movements of vehicles and characters, in synthetic environments, such as dense urban scenes, airfields, and forward operating bases. Find out more.

VRSG's low cost and versatility makes it a viable IG option for other simulation applications besides military training, such as emergency management training or homeland security training. Such use will likely increase as result of the natural progression of UAVs for non-military use. Currently, students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the US are training with VRSG in exercises that simulate realistic payload operator situations in emergency disaster management scenarios, such as simulating a forest fire where civilians trapped on a mountain with encroaching flames, and a prison escape, which highlights multi-grid scanning for heat signatures at night. Find out more.

Real-time screenshot from MetaVR VRSG of geospecific 3D desert terrain built with 1in imagery collected by MetaVR's data collection RC plane. (Graphics: MetaVR)
In an effort to push the 3D synthetic environment to greater levels of realism for UAV simulation training and other simulation training applications that demand a high level of detail, MetaVR has recently developed its own imagery collection mechanism that uses a portable, hand-launched radio-controlled aircraft that can be upgraded to a UAV.

The aircraft is outfitted with a 22mm digital camera that takes high-resolution still-frame images that caN then orthorectified and used for building 3D terrain (in MetaVR's Terrain Tools for ESRI ArcGIS) for rendering in VRSG. With the appropriate permissions for airspace usage the aircraft can collect 1-inch per-pixel imagery for a small area within a day and provide the end user full use rights. Find out more.

Real-time screenshot from MetaVR VRSG of a FAC/JTAC character entity overlooking geospecific 3D terrain of Afghanistan. On the ground near his foot is a MVRIII, or Mini-Rover device with UAV video feed.

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