Bringing the Power of Modeling & Simulation Training to the Air
MAK products are components of systems that provide air simulation all over the globe. Whether pilots are learning to fly a manned aircraft in a simulator or UAV reconnaissance missions on a lightweight classroom-style trainer, MAK has all the simulation components you need to maximize your training results.
Check out some of the ways people are using MAK's products for Air Training today:
UAV Surveillance and Operations Training with VR-Forces
What’s at Stake?
You are tasked with training a team of sensor payload operators to use UAVs for urban reconnaissance missions in a specific city. Upon completion of training, trainees must be able to comb an area for a target, make a positive identification, monitor behavior and interactions, radio in an airstrike, and then report on the outcome.
An ineffective training environment could lead to additional costs, losing important targets, and inefficient surveillance systems. Training with a robust solution enhances homeland security human resources for a minimal product investment.
What Are We Building?
As the instructor, you need to mock up a ground control station with accurate pilot/payload operator role definitions and supply that system with surveillance data from a content-rich simulation environment. You need to construct a scene that is informative, while providing trainees with opportunities to develop their instincts and test their operating procedures based on how the scenario unfolds.
Each UAV must be equipped with an electro-optical camera as well as an infrared sensor mounted to a gimbal. Radio communication between the UAV operators and a central command center must be available to coordinate surveillance and call in airstrikes.
Trainees need to experience the scenario through the electro-optical sensor and infrared sensor with rich, accurate data overlays to provide them with the information they need to communicate positioning and targeting effectively.
Your urban environment requires crowds of people who behave in realistic ways and traverse the city in intelligent paths. When a UAV operator spots someone, they need to be able to lock onto them when they are in motion to mimic algorithmic tracking tools.
The simulation needs to be adjustable in real time so that the instructor can minimize repeat behaviors and walk the team through different scenarios. Instructors also must be able to judge the effectiveness of a trainee’s technique.
In this particular case, VR-Forces provides all the software you need to bring your environment to life.
VR-Forces is an ideal tool for scenario development. It can model UAVs in fine detail, while allowing for instructors to customize those entities based on the scope of a mission. It’s simple to add the gimbal mounted sensor array that we need for this scenario and define parameters for - including zoom, zoom speed, slew rate, and gimbal stops.
Easily populate an urban environment with people by using the group objects function to add crowds of entities at a time. VR-Forces has features from Autodesk's Gameware built in, enabling Pattern of Life intelligent flows of people and vehicles, in addition to plotting the locations and tasks of individual entities. The Pattern of Life lets you manipulate patterns within the scenario – including realistic background traffic, whether it’s people, road, or air. Certain DI-Guy capabilities have been integrated into VR-Forces, meaning behavior modeling is more authentic, thanks to motion capture technology. Now you can train your team to look out for certain suspicious movements and calibrate their responses based on the actions of the target.
Sensor modeling is a point of strength for VR-Forces. Give your trainees a beautiful, detailed point of view of the scene through the electro-optical sensor, and provide a high-fidelity infrared sensor display when the daylight fades. VR-Forces adds accurate data overlays so that trainees can learn to quickly and accurately read and report based on that information. Instructors can visualize 3D volumetric view frustums and assess trainees’ combing strategies as well as any gaps in coverage, and engineer surveillance systems. We model sensor tracking to lock onto targets while they are in movement or on a fixed location.
What really makes VR-Forces perfect for training is the ability of instructors to manipulate the scenario in real time. You can keep your trainees from running scenarios that are too predictable by having your target enter buildings, change his mode of transportation, or actively attempt to avoid detection, all during live action.
Interested in Learning More? Have a look at the VR-Forces page for more information.
Can we interest you in a personal demonstration.
NASA Project Wins, Grows with the MAK RTI
As aviation technology has improved, commercial air traffic has increased significantly, requiring better airspace management techniques. In an attempt to develop better air capacity, safety, and flexibility, NASA’s Air Traffic Operations Laboratory (ATOL) used a massive simulation environment called Air and Traffic Operations Simulation (ATOS) to explore better techniques. As the project’s success lead to its growth, NASA required a licensing option that would be easily scalable in a simulation that is ever-expanding.
NASA originally needed a tool that could effectively communicate and maintain all the entities involved in its complex, multi-laboratory, simulation that includes 400+ workstation-based high-fidelity aircraft simulators networked together. The simulation would eventually demand a creative, flexible solution so that licensing restrictions would not hinder its development.
The MAK Solution:
VT MAK offers commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to facilitate Air Traffic Management simulations, backed by a company with an “engineer down the hall” philosophy to help organizations creatively solve their implementation issues. The MAK RTI has been used by ATOL for over a decade to enable their High Level Architecture (HLA) federations to rapidly and efficiently communicate the positioning and actions of entities in the ATOS simulation. It was also used to communicate with external laboratories at NASA LaRC, NASA Ames Research Center, FAA and other compliant facilities. As the simulation’s success led to the growth in the number of federates and labs involved in the simulation, NASA’s needs changed. The ATOL required a way to use unlimited instances of the MAK RTI, and needed to do it in a way that would be cost-efficient. MAK’s “engineer own the hall” philosophy played a big role in ensuring success, as we worked out a custom licensing model to meet their needs and ensure that MAK would continue to play a role in the success of the ATOL.
We were able to reach Glover Barker of NASA Langley Research Center for comment: “At NASA Langley Research Center, we have used the MAK RTI libraries since 2005. Our Airspace and Traffic Operations Simulation (ATOS) uses High Level Architecture (HLA), so we initially tried an open source HLA solution. But the quality and reliability were not adequate, so we purchased RTI from MAK. MAK's RTI implementation conforms well to HLA standards, so we could easily substitute MAK RTI for the open source solution. We have been satisfied customers ever since.”
“MAK has steadily improved their product in every new release. MAK's technical support always responds quickly and helpfully when we have questions or problems. When needed, they have sent staff to our site to inspect our environment, and made recommendations to change our configuration. In the cases when we experienced a bug because of the unique way we used their software, MAK has diligently provided fixes for our problems. When we needed a new licensing scheme to fit our usage model, MAK delivered.”
Developing Air and Ground Traffic Policy
Developing Air and Ground Traffic Policy in a World Increasingly Populated by UAS
As UAS technologies become more accessible, an increase in air traffic, particularly around urban centers is inevitable. It will be essential for governments and their agencies to develop policies with regards to air traffic and its relationship with ground traffic, specifically for low-flying UASs, and particularly in emergency situations. Well-developed traffic management will maximize safe traffic speed in regular conditions and divert flows efficiently in emergency scenarios when first-responders are rushing to a scene. Poor planning may result in economic and human loss. Simulation is an ideal space to test current traffic policies under changing conditions and to research and develop new solutions.
Governments and agencies need a tool that can depict an area modeled after their own and simulate air traffic within it. The tool should be capable of depicting specific types of air traffic, including planes, helicopters, and UASs, as well as airspace demarcation. There needs to be a concurrent display of ground traffic, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles - particularly around the scene of an incident. Policymakers want to be able to visualize traffic flows and craft response strategies for general and specific situations.
The MAK Solution:
VT MAK offers commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to construct airspace simulations, backed by a company with an “engineer down the hall” philosophy to help organizations select and implement the most effective solution.
VR-Forces provides a scalable computer-generated forces simulation engine capable of populating an environment with air and ground traffic, as well as infrastructure specific to traffic systems. There is plenty of out-of-the-box content of all shapes and sizes, from sUAS up to 747s in the air, and everything from human characters and bicyclists to fire trucks on the ground. If an out-of-the-box model needs to be modified to match local specifications, or if an agency wants to create their own from scratch, MAK’s open-source API allows for full customization of entity appearance and performance.
VR-Forces depicts volumetric airspace regulations, giving policymakers a three-dimensional perspective of air corridors and restricted spaces as they swell and shrink. Crucially, volumetric airspace restrictions can be assigned to impact air and ground traffic systems accordingly. For example, if there was an auto accident, set policies could dictate an air restriction in the area up to a certain height to provide space for UAS emergency response and redirect UAS traffic as long as necessary. At the same time, traffic on the ground within a particular radius may have their speeds reduced, or lanes may be opened specifically for first responders to access the scene more readily.
Policymakers can calibrate the size and rules applied to air corridors and measure the impact of these changes on the traffic patterns of the city. VR-Forces is capable of depicting traffic density as it shifts with new incidents, even assigning a color-coded density maps to better visualize areas of congestion in air and on the ground.
VR-TheWorld allows policymakers to test these impacts inside any city for which they have the terrain data, through a through a web-based interface. This creates the most realistic testing lab for research and development projects.