Effects of AR, VR, MR on Homeland and Border Security and Defence

The two world wars were the most horrific and devastating wars that the world has witnessed. The unparalleled destruction brought about by these wars has remained and will remain unmatched for the foreseeable future. However, with the end of these wars, a quixotic hope of mankind that peace will now prevail could never fructify. Even after living through these horrendous and terrifying experience, the world has continuously enmeshed itself in an increasingly hostile environment. An environment so inimical that it has spurred a race for technological development among all militaries of the world. By today’s parameters, a country’s military might is not measured in terms of the size of its armies. Rather, it is the technological might that provides a yardstick to compare the lethality of any army. Therefore, along with all other spheres of our life, technological advancements have provided a promising future to our militaries too.

Militaries acknowledge importance of development in Technologies:

Heretofore, the development in military hardware showcased on actual battlefields was the most vociferous manifestation of the increase in the military strength and capabilities. However, militaries of today are now increasingly acknowledging the importance of development in technologies, which does not reflect directly on the battlefield. These are the technologies that play a very important role in the background, such as backend communication support, real-time analysis of the battlefields, and provision of real-time data to foot soldiers. Adding to this list are the new technologies known as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

VR constructs a virtual world out of raft amount of data collected and collated. Although a very close approximation of real-world scenario, it has the innate shortcoming of failing to represent in a tangible and interactive manner. AR, on the other hand, is akin to plastering of digital data on the real-world scenarios. In AR, both the digital and the real world interact with each other, thus providing more realistic experiences as compared to VR. MR is the amalgamation of both these technologies and is still in its rudimentary form.

VR and AR have made their debut in the world of entertainment

VR and AR have made their debut in the world of entertainment, although they were being used in a host of other fields. The introduction of these technologies by the mobile industry as VR or AR kit brought their seamless potential to the fore. People at large have now become aware of their prodigious capabilities. The defense industry also took cognizance and has increasingly incorporated AR and VR in their long-term plans of providing teeth to their ever-strengthening armada of military might. In the current scenario, military training, requiring safeguarding the interest of the countries or societies, is both cost and time intensive. It is criminally expensive to provide a real-time simulation of a battlefield. Training modes, such as simulation of artillery support or air support, demanded the availability of real-time targets—targets that were expendable and required to be rebuilt with each and every schedule of training exercise. Another reason against employment of such training pattern is either the unavailability of military assets such as aircrafts or artillery guns or the prohibitive costs involving firing of live munitions.

This is where technologies like AR, VR, and MR have stepped in and have solved the longstanding dilemma of military trainers. And the dilemma is the importance of real-time military training versus the humongous cost and expense of critical military assets. With AR, soldiers can simulate the actual battlefield scenario and call for artillery support or air support without worrying for any damages to the target site or utilizing expensive and critical military assets including munitions. With AR-aided training, soldiers have the chance to correct their mistakes in real time and log their activities. With each training schedule, the outcome can be compared with previous logs for efficacy and potential repetitive mistakes, an advantage not available with real-time assets being used during the training schedules. Another added advantage is now there is no requirement of relocating soldiers to a specific location for specific training. An exact replica of on-ground training set-up can be created anywhere with minimum effort involved.

Apart from re-shaping the training process, the VR, AR, and MR technologies have another critical advantage and that is being a real time buddy of the soldier on the field. They can really apply themselves in the real-world scenario and can run a diagnostic test of whatever paraphernalia a soldier is using. For example, an AR-enabled helmet can very quickly run a diagnostic test on the vehicle to be used by the soldiers about to embark on a perilous journey in the enemy territory. The technology can quickly point out that there is some problem with either the brakes or the steering of the vehicle, thus precluding any major accidents resulting in fatalities. In a similar vein, an AR can in no time help the soldier with diagnostic of a jammed rifle or provide him with alternatives when he is in utter state of chaos. It is true that AR will only be an aid and that real-life training will remain to be the mainstay in training curricula. But the fact remains that AR will be the most important ally as far as real-time training is concerned.

In the same vein, another important security service like border security can avail the benefits of these technologies. For example, wearing AR glasses can have real-time information fed about the credential of an approaching vehicle with the threat profiling being already superimposed on the track record of the vehicle. Thus, before the driver actually reaches the official, it has already been scanned and profiled. Another field which can greatly benefit is homeland security. The moment a traveler surfaces on a transportation system, his or her movements are continuously being tracked for any suspicious behavior and this information is fed to the nearest security officer. By the time the traveler leaves the ticket counter, he or she has been identified and tagged for any preventive action if he or she poses any threat to life and property. In this sense we can see that AR not only helps analyze the surrounding but also helps in a variety of ways to use the data to our advantage.

“As therapid advancement in augmented reality strives tirelessly hard to make training more efficient, borders and homeland more secure, the once quixotic dream of eternal umbrella of peace may not be farfetched and unreal dream altogether.”