The US military is experiencing many challenges of training their large maintenance crew that serve aircraft, ships and ground systems. Some of the latest effort involves looking at emerging technologies such as Machine Learning (ML) and Augmented Reality (AR) to help meet these challenges.
The US military is having shortage of experienced and qualified technical personals to service and maintain physical systems. On the other hand, it takes long time to train the next generation of technical personals. Some of the training programs could last up to two years. By that time, new systems would come online that no one has much experience with, because technology is changing and evolving fast. Moreover, military technical personals are not always equipped with necessary resources or documents to perform on-the-job learning and training efficiently.
All these challenges are very similar to what we are seeing in many private sector industries. This suggests that a systematic approach is needed to advance the current ways of training and developing maintenance crew. Some of the needed approach is related to training program’s structure and methodology. Some of the needed approach is related to software and hardware tools that facilitate and aid.
Here are two examples of US Navy looking for comprehensive solutions leveraging Augmented Reality technology to modernize maintenance and operation training.
1. Modernizing Maintenance Operations and Training
Maintenance operations are critical for Navy to support their key National Defense Strategy objectives. However, delayed maintenance and reduced readiness still happen from time to time due to either lack of training or tools available for the maintainers.
For this reason, Navy has been seeking innovative solutions and developing best practices to address maintenance operations challenges mentioned above. Specifically, modernized training that complements and disrupts traditional classed room-based training paradigms (e.g., classroom based) and leverages emerging technology such as Augmented Reality.
A solution combining both AR software and AR hardware components is under development to provide the capability that ‘…supports remote/on-demand maintenance operations and training activities for continuous/career learning and collaboration’.
Key technical challenges for implementing AR technology in Navy operation include providing the distribution solution across global sites, as well as meeting the security standards in military environment.
The main objective of developing this solution is using state-of-the-art AR technology to aid and supplement maintenance activities. Sometimes the manual or deep knowledge required to complete certain tasks are not available on site. It is also very important for the onsite maintainer to author content that can be easily stored, categorized, analyzed and provided to future learners and trainees.
2. Digital Twin Technology and Augmented Reality
The training navy technicians go through upfront before getting maintenance assignment could be outdated soon due to the fast-changing technology landscape. In this case, Navy needs to provide on-the-job, continuous, and career-long training/learning to the fleet’s technical personals.
Modern delivery ways such as AR and digital twin modeling technologies are been leveraged to provide faster training and better knowledge retention. This could reduce the time and cost of training and improving job performance and Navy’s mission readiness.
New systems sometimes come on-line before much knowledge and experience exist in the fleet. Some of these systems have Internet-of-Things (IOT) capability. The data and information from the system could be extracted and used as input for the digital twin modeling program to help illustrate complex systems and concepts.
To discuss how AR and ML can help your organization’s training applications, or to experience a real demo yourself, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.