A mining and heavy equipment simulator might not seem like the ideal product for a company to demonstrate at the military-focused I/ITSEC, but CAE believes that it may soon have a role to play with the U.S. Army.
The company plans to demonstrate its Terra simulator ahead of the Army’s planned acquisition of construction equipment virtual trainers, which is set to happen during the next year. CAE believes Terra is a possible solution to the Army’s requirement and will have one of the systems in a containerized unit at the show.
The Army plans to acquire from 30 to 50 Type II CEVTs, according to documents released on the U.S. government’s Federal Business Opportunities website last August.
A Type II simulator is one that is motion-based, with realistic feedback to its operator. Soldiers are sometimes called on to use such machinery in local projects or in emergencies.
The CEVTs will be used to train personnel on five kinds of construction equipment: graders, hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders, scrapers and bulldozers. They must be reconfigurable from one variant to another within an hour. Each equipment type will require a minimum of six CEVTs.
The trainers will be provided in stationary and mobile configurations and replicate the form, fit and function of existing heavy-construction equipment in use by the U.S. Army Combat Engineers (Active, Reserves, and National Guard). The Army, as part of a larger push for interoperability and compatibility, wants CEVTs to have an open architecture system that facilitates upgrades.
The CAE Terra simulator features a six-degrees-of-freedom motion system, extreme field-of-view visual display and is available as a deployable system or as part of a classroom setup.
CAE also plans to use I/ITSEC to publicly launch and demonstrate its Dynamic Synthetic Environment, a computer-based simulation of Earth, including terrain, oceans, vegetation, buildings and other man-made objects. Importantly, a DSE automatically and autonomously evolves and changes over time. The company has been working on this as an internal research and development program over the past two years and has only demonstrated it in “whisper rooms” off the main show floor to selected clients at the last couple of I/ITSECs. It now plans formally to launch DSE as a new capability, according to CAE director of marketing Chris Stellwag.
DSE has several components. There is an architecture based on the shared, public Common Database specification, which allows the creation, modification and correlation of run-time databases in hours rather than days or weeks. It also uses content creation software tools from Presagis and CAE, core DSE simulation software, and DSE-enabled products such as image generators and computer-generated forces software.