Central Florida Tech Grove hosted Naval Air Warfare Training Systems Division’s (NAWCTSD) LVC Interoperability Prize Challenge on Aug. 1, 2023, when the top three teams received cash prizes.


The challenge initially began last April. Contest officials gave teams until June to submit solutions and information related to their proposed solutions. After the competition was narrowed down, the eight finalists presented on the Aug. 1 “demo day.”


“The purpose of the challenge was to put the word out across the country about the Navy’s need for a solution to automate what is currently a very manual intensive process in planning exercises for live-virtual-constructive (LVC) training scenarios,” said Carol Ann Logue, Tech Grove director. “The goal was to shorten the time it to assess the data sources and to increase the accuracy of that assessment.”


The process of planning LVC training can get quite technical, but in the simplest comparison, Logue likened it to assessing talent for a baseball team. The prospects need to demonstrate they all have a minimum set of certain abilities, like hitting the ball with a bat, accurately throwing the ball to other players, and running quickly. Ideally, the strongest candidates make the team, but if a coach accidentally adds unqualified players to the roster, the team will likely perform poorly on game day.


When military instructors plan an LVC exercise, they manually assess virtual data sources (like a simulated helicopter or GIS data) that will feed into a synthetic training exercise. Logue explained that the various data sources are not interoperable unless they meet certain configurations that provide a minimal set of criteria, which allow them to pass data from one to another and enable a successful training simulation. This manual process requires a lot of time, which highlighted the need for a solution that would provide trainers more efficient execution.


“Right now, it’s a one-to-two-week process,” Logue said. “NAWCTSD’s objective was to automate and expedite that [evaluation] process with an intuitive agent that would assess each of those sources feeding into the exercise, confirm that they met the configuration, and if they didn’t, determine where they didn’t meet the configuration so instructors could adjust. [The virtual data sources] all need to speak a little of the same language.”


Judges representing NAWCTSD and the Marine Corps’ Program Manager Training Systems developed the scoring rubric that determined the winners, and disseminated it to participants early in the competition. After teams made their presentations and judges had Q&A time, the top three teams were Trideum, DIS Appliance Co., and Discovery Machine, who received cash awards of $50,000, $30,000, and $20,000, respectively.


“The government is in discussions with the winning teams about further activities, like cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) or an ‘other transaction authority’ with the government to further developing their solutions, to make LVC training exercises planning and execution much faster. That means trainers can run them more often,” Logue said. “These training events could be made more robust with more sources feeding into them, which will improve instructors’ abilities to better conduct these exercises to benefit the warfighter.”


Logue said this event was the first such prize challenge Tech Grove has run for its customers, and there are several more in the pipeline.


“It worked,” Logue said. “Our customers – the Navy and other services who watched this event closely – saw the results and saw how, for a relatively small amount of money and time, [this challenge] could bring forth approaches that address their needs, which would otherwise be difficult to find and certainly take a lot more time and money. This is what low cost, rapid innovation looks like!”

People who read this article also found these articles interesting :