A new prototype navigation system is being trialed by the Norwegian army, allowing their soldiers a new way to drive their tanks, and it uses Oculus Rift. The new system uses special cameras mounted on the exterior of the tank, which are then fed into the Oculus Rift headset via some software, to provide the driver with 360-degree of viewing space from within the safety of the tank.
The new system is nothing more than a prototype, as the picture quality provided by the headset and the cameras is not good enough for operational use. They’ve been testing with Oculus since 2013, which I’m guessing was the DK1 dev kit hardware, but in April they also tried out the newer DK2 hardware.
“It is a partial success,” project leader Maj Ola Petter Odden told the BBC. “The concept is sound, but the technology isn’t quite there yet. The picture quality is good for 10-15m [30-50ft] – but after that it is difficult to distinguish details, for example whether an opponent is carrying a weapon.”
Oculus Rift has so far proven a much cheaper solution compared to conventional military camera systems. The hardware used is still under development, but they’re preparing their systems and soldiers for when a higher quality headset and camera system are available.
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Images courtesy of BBC.