Servicemember in virtual reality suit interacts with virtual warfare environment.

Military Training Simulation Software: Artificial Intelligence for Armed Servicemembers

Artificial Intelligence, Military Simulations, Military Training, Defense Industry Trends, Artificial Intelligence In Defense Industry, Emerging Defense Industry Trends, Future of AI in Military

You may be aware that the military uses “war games” to train its soldiers, but what exactly is military training simulation software? Broadly speaking, military simulations can refer to a wide range of training methods. Militaries have used everything from mathematical models to comprehensive rehearsals of strategies and weapons in a non-combative environment to prepare servicemembers. In particular, military training software is a frequently used type of military simulation, because it is often the best way to mimic real-life combat situations while keeping both injury risks and operational overhead low.

Military training simulation software can become even more beneficial by incorporating artificial intelligence. Keep reading to learn how our military can use AI in simulations to its advantage and how Sentient Digital, Inc. is developing innovative new software to leverage this opportunity.

The Role of Virtual Military Training Software

Servicemember in full gear runs across desert.

The U.S. Army has employed virtual reality software to train its soldiers for many years. Our military has used virtual reality technology for training, simulation, and even therapy much longer than VR has been used commercially. Software-based training programs tend to cost less money, which is just one reason why the army has favored them for so long.

Perhaps more crucial to their popularity in the military, virtual reality environments embody the Army motto: “Fight as you train, train as you fight.” In other words, virtual realities can best mirror the realities of warfare—without actually endangering servicemembers.

Virtual reality environments help members of our armed forces understand how to work with their teammates, handle mock weapons of the exact same size and weight as their real-life counterparts, and learn to make good decisions under high-stress situations.

Having military training simulation software programs mimic real-world combat as closely as possible is critically important. While the average consumer of VR products simply enjoys the heightened technology, it’s not an overstatement to say that for soldiers, realistic virtual training environments could have life-or-death consequences. Being unprepared during combat—whether because of walking new terrain, facing an unfamiliar weapon, or having a drill fail to work as it did in training—can result in dire injuries or even death for a soldier or their comrades.

A graphic stating that training accidents accounted for almost 4 times more U.S. servicemembers' deaths than combat in 2017.

And it’s not just combat that can be dangerous to armed servicemembers, but also the training process itself. In fact, for the past few years, more U.S. troops have died during training exercises than in combat. While the exact reasons for this are still being discussed among military experts, the net result is that our military is looking more closely at safer ways to implement training procedures, such as increased application of virtual environments.

More recently, artificial intelligence presents our armed forces with opportunities for even more benefits to military training software. Learn more about how military training simulation software can benefit from increased AI functionality below.

Advantages of Military Training Simulation Software with AI

An infographic sharing our 4 advantages of military training simulation software with AI discussed in this post.

Read more about each of these advantages below! You can share our infographic on social media or copy and paste the code below to embed it on your website:

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<p>Advantages of Military Training Simulation Software with AI - An infographic by the team at <a href="">Sentient Digital, Inc.</a></p>

1. Military personnel can train in more realistic simulated settings.

An AI-powered terrain like this can improve military training simulation software.

Until recently, realistic training settings were one demand that even virtual reality technology struggled to fulfill. While settings could be made to look naturalistic, it was difficult to make the virtual world actually mimic a real-life place rather than, for instance, generic Middle Eastern mountain ranges.

However, a new military training simulation software program can recreate real cities in virtual environments. Now, instead of only having broad knowledge of what forests in Asia might look like, soldiers will have already trained in these exact environments before they ever set foot in the real locations. Such highly specific knowledge will enable soldiers to move more quickly through the real environment, be more accurate with their logistical planning, and prepare themselves better ahead of time.

This virtual reality program is able to generate these Synthetic Training Environments (STEs) quickly and accurately with the help of AI. Locations halfway around the globe can be created within a matter of minutes by gathering information such as satellite imagery, street-view data, and even 3-D images taken by drones. The AI software can gather this data and use it to recreate the details of the landscape.

What’s more, this technology has the ability to update training environments with new data. Let’s say that a particular city within the AI program expands in real life. The system can be easily updated with the help of AI to incorporate this new information. This allows soldiers to experience the terrain as it exists now, as opposed to several months or even years ago.

2. AI military training simulation software saves time and money.

Servicemembers in a forest, demonstrating what they've learned from military training software.

People often think that artificial intelligence has a high operational cost, simply because it is cutting-edge technology. However, AI actually tends to save organizations money in the long run, as has been the case for both UPS and IBM, among many others.

While startup costs of implementing AI technology are often higher at first, artificial intelligence is more efficient at certain tasks than humans are. AI, for instance, can synthesize large amounts of data and perform warehouse tasks faster than us.

According to Pete Morrison, CEO of Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), "Training times have gone from one year to six months. . . . This was achieved at a fraction of the cost of a typical full flight simulator, which costs millions of dollars."

When it comes to our armed forces, planning and executing full rehearsals of military exercises typically requires more financial resources than military training software. Even classroom training can be more costly, in terms of both time and money. Its higher expense comes from the need for a large number of physical assets in a single place at the same time.

With cost evaluations, it’s important to look not just at the sticker price, but also at the operational costs. In the case of our Air Force, training pilots on AI flight simulations actually helps them move onto their training within real aircrafts faster. These simulations offer pilots more intimate knowledge of combat flying than if they had only taken notes, enabling them to get the training they need swiftly and safely.

3. Artificial intelligence can best replicate the many variables of combat.

Representation of a service member in a digital environment, using military simulation software.

Modern warfare has become increasingly complex over the last few decades, and not just when it comes to high-tech traditional weaponry. Megacities and other complicated environments, as well as electronic warfare and cyberwarfare, create new challenges for our troops. As warfare has become more complicated, so too has the need for military training that is more multidimensional.

Hybrid threats, such as economic attacks and data harvesting, combine conventional warfare with cyberwarfare and other nontraditional strategies. Soldiers must be trained to fight in a wide variety of landscapes, using a range of equipment and strategies, in order to be prepared for hybrid warfare.

Additionally, military personnel need to understand the socio-political climate of the location where they’re based. This knowledge can better prepare them to interact effectively with the local population, as well as strategize regarding their specific enemy in the region.

So how do these factors relate to artificial intelligence and military training simulation software? AI programs with the ability to create a multitude of intelligent, autonomous agents can better replicate future interactions with allies, enemies, and local civilians.

These agents can be used to create immersive, realistic simulations that span a variety of hybrid warfare tactics along numerous socio-political spectrums. Since AI gives the agents autonomy, they will not behave in predictable patterns that soldiers could potentially detect after multiple training sessions. Rather, each simulation will reset that particular agent’s behavior pattern.

AI technology is especially valuable for its ability to incorporate an element of unpredictability into military training simulation software. A crucial part of excelling in warfare is being able to think fast on one’s feet, be that with a gun in hand or during a simple exchange with a local civilian. Having armed servicemembers already trained in this skill prior to actually stepping into combat allows them to be more effective once they actually deploy.

4. AI military training simulation software can teach us new warfare strategies.

Digitized human face with an overlay of a globe with data points as a concept for how AI military training simulation software can teach us new warfare strategies.

As previously mentioned, there are numerous tasks that AI can perform better than humans. Most involve data analysis. However, our abilities as humans to abstract, generalize, reason, learn, plan, and intuit—all skills that come into play in a combat environment—currently exceed the abilities of AI creations.

Effective military tactics also depend on an understanding of spatial and temporal elements. While these concepts come naturally to humans, they must be programmed into AI. But what if there were an AI system that could learn enough from humans to show us novel, innovative strategies?

At Sentient Digital, Inc., our senior AI research scientist and team are currently working to develop an AI program capable of playing against—and defeating—an expert human opponent in an operational-level modern wargame. Our multi-agent military training simulation software will work in a way similar as Alpha Go, a reinforcement learning program created to master the board game Go.

Alpha Go has succeeded in not only besting the former world champion of Go, but furthermore repeatedly making moves that Go experts do not initially understand. In other words, Alpha Go is a program that manages to not only win every time, but also slowly teaches its human audience and players a new way of comprehending the game.

It is our goal to design AI military training simulation software that produces these kinds of results. Many members of our team, including senior staff, possess both hands-on military experience and AI expertise. This puts us in a uniquely qualified position to understand our military’s real-world needs, as well as deliver a practical and effective technology solution.

We are establishing an AI system that will ultimately utilize its vast computational abilities in combination with observed behaviors of expert human players. Through this process, we believe our AI will become not only a worthy opponent in military simulations, but an opponent that can teach us how to improve our real-life combat strategies.

More Ways AI Is Revolutionizing the Military

Aviation Maintenance

Military aviation maintenance is a vital aspect of missions, training, and programs. Commercial AI programs can be utilized by aviation engineers to help predict when an aircraft needs repairs or when certain parts need replacement.

AI can improve the maintenance procedures’ overall efficiency, allowing more aircraft to be available for missions. AI technology can also be used during the design process to develop more advanced aircrafts for the future.

AI Sensors

AI sensors detect changes in the surrounding environment and convey data about those changes in a way that’s comprehensible to humans or to another machine. AI sensors collect data more quickly and gather results with greater accuracy than humans can. This enables military operatives to make quick, data-based decisions in combative or otherwise sensitive environments.

At Sentient Digital, Inc., we’re working on an AI program that gathers data about a hostile target from a variety of sources, including human intelligence as well as air, ship, and land radar sensors. The AI fuses this data into a Common Operational Targeting Picture, then determines the best weapon and platform for attacking the target. Finally, the program identifies the assets most suitable for attacking the target and contacts them.

AI sensors can also connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables communication between devices on a digital network. The Internet of Military Things (IoMT) is becoming increasingly important for the combat operations of the armed forces, such as reconnaissance, surveillance, and digital warfare. AI sensors connecting to the IoMT can ultimately reduce the physical space and high cost that digital operations require in a combat environment.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

The military can utilize natural language processing and AI to automatically classify and match incoming data to monitored indicators and warnings. NLP can also provide alerts on keywords or themes that indicate emerging tactics, procedures, combat techniques, or trending topics.

Target Recognition

A service member using military training simulation software.

AI can be used to enhance the accuracy of target recognition in complex combat environments. This allows defense forces to gain a deeper understanding of potential areas of operation, including the analysis of reports, documents, newsfeeds, and other forms of unstructured information.

AI target recognition can also include enemy behavior based on probability forecasts, aggregation of weather and environmental conditions, anticipation, flagging potential supply line bottlenecks or vulnerabilities, assessments of mission approaches, mitigation strategies, and the discovery of new targets.

Threat Monitoring and Situational Awareness

Threat monitoring and situational awareness rely heavily on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations (ISR), which acquire and process information regarding various activities. Equipping this system with AI can assist defense personnel in threat monitoring, which will, in turn, enhance their situational awareness.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) enabled with AI, also known as drones, can be effectively used to patrol areas, identify potential threats, and transmit information about the appropriate response team’s perceived threats. UAVs can strengthen the security of military bases and increase personnel’s safety and efficacy in both battles and at remote locations.

Information Processing

AI can efficiently process large volumes of data for valuable information and relay important information quicker. Additionally, AI can assist in the culling and aggregating of information from different sources. This provides the military with advanced analysis, including recognized patterns and correlations.

Using AI for information processing also helps prevent human error or disregard of potential threats. AI can both process and analyze information more rapidly than humans, but also can work for longer periods of time, further facilitating its quicker identification of potential threats.

Contact SDi for Your AI Solutions

As a technology solutions provider on the cutting-edge of artificial intelligence software, we are well prepared to help your organization create, refine, and implement AI technology to meet your needs. We also provide a wide variety of IT services and software development for defense, government, and commercial clients.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can create state-of-the-art technology solutions for you.