Remotely piloted aviation looks to gaming technology.


The line separating military training and video games continues to become thinner.


Now, one can practice operating an unmanned aerial system with nothing more than a joystick and PC. These simulations adopt a number of approaches found in video games, right down to the controls.

"The UAS community is looking for cost-effective mobile training simulations," said Brad Johnson, a program manager at General Dynamics Information Technology in Orlando. He works closely with the largest UAS training center in the world at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

The company creates customized virtual environments to train different forces in varying scenarios. The UAS training system allows a user to operate a flight simulator, gather intelligence, view a battlefield and create reports as if in theater.

"The ability to replicate realistic geo-specific terrain, landmarks, enemy locations and the natural surroundings is a powerful tool," Johnson said.

The military is training a generation that grew up on video games, and this new breed of soldier understands learning in a virtual environment, he said. The evidence is all around.

Raytheon has developed a control system for unmanned aircraft based on the same technology behind popular video games like Halo, and the Army has used Xbox controls with ground robots. A former Navy pilot has even come up with a way to control a drone...

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