Future Technology, Week 3
Augmented Reality (AR) is a progressive technology that will impact commerce, education, the armed forces, medicine, and most aspects of our lives in the next few years. One of the first technologies expected to be released are the AR glasses from Google’s “Project Glass” (Bilton, 2012). The Department of Defense (DoD) has started research and development with similar AR products that include maintenance, contact lenses, and head mounted displays (Saenz) (DARPA) (Howard). The future technology addressed in this paper is AR use with the TPQ-53 System to provide immediate and vital information for accurate target acquisition and engagement.
AR technology is under research and development by DoD to support the individual service member conducting combat missions or providing vehicle maintenance (Saenz) (Howard). Similar AR technology can also be applied to the TPQ-53 System to enhance target acquisition, command, control, computers, and intelligence (C4I), and engagement capability. AR in conjunction with the TPQ-53 and C4I systems can provide the acquisition of targets, information about the target, and the appropriate engagement asset for lethal or non-lethal means. When the TPQ-53 acquires a target, AR would provide information about the target. For example: The point of origin is a house located in a village and the rules of engagement do not allow for counter fire into an urban area. The TPQ-53 AR Enhanced radar would disseminate the acquisition through C4I systems via a hologram onto a digital map that allows the commander and his staff to view information, the location, status of target (strike, no strike, etc). In essence, the commander and his staff have the capability to view the ground level target inside the tactical operations center (TOC). Depending on the information provided, the commander decides on the immediate action to be taken by military forces and assets. The acquired target information is simultaneously sent to service members throughout the area of operation (AO). The simultaneous dispersing of information across the AO allows units in the area to receive information through the AR contact lenses/glasses or other communication system and retain direct communication with the TOC for engagement orders.
The TPQ-53 and C4I AR enhanced systems are integrated at all levels from the ground soldier to the commander. The TPQ-53 will not only benefit military units and personnel but also government officials. The information provided by AR can contribute to minimal collateral damage for lethal fires or other engagements in the case of non-lethal fire engagements. Government officials are continually concerned with collateral damage and the effects this has on diplomatic exchanges and allied force campaigns. The reduction of potential collateral damage will be of interest to civilians but civilians will not be a primary audience. AR may have a limited audience but is vital to service members.
The TPQ-53 is currently produced and fielded by Lockheed Martin. Introduction of AR into the TPQ-53 and C4I systems will be dependent on the research and development authorized by DoD. DoD has authorized AR for individual soldier devices. If these devices are successful, DoD will continue to approve AR development for the US Armed Forces. DoD has progressively introduced technology into the fighting force and we can expected AR to be introduced as the new cutting edge technology for the armed forces.
The implications of AR providing immediate information simultaneously to C4I systems and units in the AO can be critical to military operation. Current radar capabilities have limited distribution of target acquisition and the information is distributed to specific assets. The current process can be lengthy and timely. AR technology on the battlefield is not limited to a lateral or urban battlefield. Placed in the correct format, government officials can also receive regular updates via AR technology for decision making purposes. AR technology provides the future potential of the fighting force to execute improved communication, logistics, medicine, and a multitude of other applications.
Bilton, N. (2012, April 4). Google begins testing its augmented-reality glasses. The New York Times, Retrived from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/google-begins-testing-its-augmented-reality-glasses/.
DARPA. (2011, March 24). DARPA successfully completes 3D holographic display technology demonstration program. Retrieved from http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2011/2011/03/24_DARPA_Successfully_Completes_3D_Holographic_Display_Technology_Demonstration_Program.aspx
Howard, C. E. (2007, May 1). Department of Defense invests in delivering augmented reality technology to foot soldiers. Retrieved from http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/print/volume-18/issue-5/news/department-of-defense-invests-in-delivering-augmented-reality-technology-to-foot-soldiers.html
Saenz, A. (2012, January 11). Augmented reality to help military mechanics fix vehicles. Retrieved from http://singularityhub.com/2010/01/11/augmented-reality-to-help-military-mechanics-fix-vehicles-video/