Training soldiers with virtual reality sounds like something one would see in a video game. In Canada, this is a very real training regime used by the King’s Own Calgary Regiment. Thanks to their impressive training simulator, it becomes a lot easier to learn the ropes of driving an armored vehicle. For team building purposes, virtual reality can play a big role. While some people may doubt the usefulness of this technology in a military setting, the King’s Own Calgary Regiment has certainly set an interesting precedent.
King’s Own Calgary Regiment Trains in Virtual Reality
Simulating a combat experience in virtual reality is not an easy job. In fact, it is something no one may ever be able to recreate in a convincing manner. Until such scenarios come to market, there are other ways for regiments to embrace virtual reality technology. The King’s Own Calgary Regiment, for example, uses a VR training simulator to re-enact driving an armored vehicle It is a lot more difficult than it sounds, as the overall feedback was relatively positive despite these vehicles being “unwieldy’ to drive.
The use of virtual reality technology came forth as a way to bring together regular and reserve members of the King’s Own Calgary Regiment. A simulated training program of this magnitude is always worth exploring, as you never know what kind of results can be expected. Using VR headset seemed a bit uncanny at first, but the use of steering wheels and lifelike screens quickly turned this experiment into a field mission. This annual event has been conducted many times already, but it is the first time virtual reality is being used in an official capacity.
King’s Own Calgary Regiment Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Hunt explains:
“We try and do this at least annually and it’s part of our transition to individual training to collective training. We do it in the virtual environment here first and then, in the spring, we go out in the field for practice in Suffield, Wainwright and even Calgary.”
Especially for those troops not used to field experience, virtual reality is good “warm-up” solution. Private Brodie Meston thinks the experience is “really nice”, although everyone admitted this did not simulate the real world entirely. It is a more than a valuable first step toward integrating virtual reality into the military sector in the future, though. Experiments like these show there is a bright future ahead for VR in many different industries. The King’s Own Calgary Regiment has created an interesting precedent that will send shockwaves throughout the world.
Header image courtesy of Calgary Herald
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