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The Army’s top acquisition official has approved the next phase of development for the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), a device that combines augmented reality, night vision and situational awareness for soldiers.
The device was tested by troops from the 10th Mountain Division in August using the 1.2 prototype version. The program, which has a budget of $22 billion, faced some challenges in the past few years, but has overcome them and is ready for the next steps. These include integrating the device with tactical cloud computing, which would enable more features and software to be added to the device. However, this also requires careful analysis of how to produce and field thousands of these devices in a cost-effective and timely manner.
The next phase will focus on making the system producible and affordable over the next 18 months. The technical team will also work with the cloud computing package to determine how many and what level of capabilities the device users can access.
The device’s existing hardware already provides navigation, wayfinding, targeting and other features. But future versions will have access to an applications “store” where users can download various apps that can assist them with their jobs, duties or missions.
Program Executive Office-Soldier commander, Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider, gave an example to Army Times about how IVAS will be used in real world by the US army:
Army member can currently use a microdrone to fly over an area, capture images and create a map of the terrain within 20 minutes. This map can then be displayed on the device’s heads-up display, allowing the unit to see the terrain virtually and rehearse their mission before leaving their base.
“No system in the Army inventory is capable of providing the range of options for our Soldiers as IVAS – its transformative and disruptive technology does not exist anywhere in the world,” said an US Army official.