Charles River Analytics Inc. has received funding from the U.S. Army to create an advanced research prototype of Virtual Environment Collaboration Tools for Operational Readiness (VECTOR) augmented and virtual reality (XR) system.
VECTOR uses synchronized virtual collaboration environments so that dispersed Mission Command personnel can collaboratively plan, rehearse, and execute missions. VECTOR solves several problems faced by the U.S. Army—Mission Command tasks are increasingly more difficult as global threats become more distributed, agile, and technologically advanced. Traditional and stationary command posts often suffer from degraded connectivity that limits communication and collaboration with distributed Mission Command personnel.
“Mission Commands are running into major issues when they try to plan complicated maneuvers without a shared workspace,” said Susan Latiff, Scientist at Charles River Analytics and Principal Investigator on the VECTOR effort. “VECTOR provides a cutting-edge environment where multiple officers can collaborate efficiently from different locations.”
Charles River Analytics led a demonstration and evaluation of VECTOR with the U.S. Mission Command Battle Lab (MBCL). During the prototype demonstration, over 55 concurrent users connected to a virtual collaboration environment and interacted across a virtualized 3D battlefield sand table. Users were able to work with all of VECTOR’s features, even with purely remote instruction. Participants reported that VECTOR would be helpful in Mission Command and provided insights that the team at Charles River Analytics will use to polish the prototype’s features.
Commanders and soldiers can join VECTOR’s virtual environments through XR, mobile, and desktop applications. Once connected to a session, personnel can access a suite of collaboration tools that center on a 3D geospatial battlefield common operating picture. With VECTOR, Commanders can clearly communicate their intent and objectives to empower subordinates to achieve mission objectives.
The VECTOR system advances deep understanding of virtual collaboration and data visualization in mixed reality. VECTOR augments Commanders’ situational understanding, allowing them to support Mission Command across networks and co-locations.