- Indian Army will now be training its soldiers in metaverse with VR and AR catalysed simulations
- Adapting to modern warfare patterns with minimum training causality is the need of the hour, but the challenges are plenty
- The metaverse and its related challenges are going to transform the next generation of the Indian defence establishment.
Before 2014, the inability to catch up with the pace of modernisation was the biggest problem miring the Indian Army. But PM Modi has changed things and the Army has seen massive upgrades in its futuristic arms and weapons. Now, it has gone one step further as the soldiers will now be training in the metaverse.
WARDEC-A pathway for Army’s entry into the metaverse
India’s national capital is ready to host a Wargame Research and Development Centre (WARDEC) for the Indian Army. It will be developed by the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU), Gandhinagar -based Central University and an Institute of National Importance. RRU specialises in national security and policing. It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Army Training Command for the purpose. Tech Mahindra will be handling the responsibility of preparing the laboratory.
Appraising the nation about the initiative, Colonel Nidhish Bhatnagar, Director, School of Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security at RRU said “The RRU has enhanced capabilities in domains of Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security, as also defence and strategic studies. Along with Maker’s Lab, which is the research and development division of technology leader Tech Mahindra, RRU will establish the wargame centre which will incorporate emerging technologies into wargame development. This will allow realistic experience for the users.”
First of its kind and realistic
WARDEC will be the first of its kind simulation-based Training Centre in India. The Centre will be using artificial intelligence to design virtual reality wargames. All of these games will be played by soldiers in the metaverse. However, their implications on the player’s physic and psyche will be totally realistic. To make it possible, surroundings will be simulated with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).
In a statement to Indian Express, an RRU official said, “In metaverse, the players (soldiers) will get a realistic experience of the actual situation. If a weapon weighing 5 kg drops or the air pressure falls, they will feel it like anyone would in a live situation, real-time. The game would play out player versus player, player versus computer or even computer versus computer,”
Army will be feeding the data
To model the metaverse according to its own needs, the Indian Army will be providing its own data to set the backdrop of the game. The data will consist of a realistic battlefield and various other possible hindrances which soldiers might have to face. These sites could be a war zone, places like Taj Hotel hit by terrorist attacks or an insurgency inflicted area like that of Bastar.
While informing about the significance of the Metaverse game for soldiers, an RRU official said, “In Army, it is often said that the enemy can ambush you from 361 directions, where 360 sides are around the soldier, and one is above in case there is an airdrop. So, wargame simulation helps the Army think of all possible scenarios. Aspects such as slope of terrain, weather, time, air pressure, enemy surveillance reach, the reach of artillery, the position of troops, soldier’s health and enemy’s reaction capabilities are all taken into account by the use of AI”
Excitement and challenges await
Ever since computer technology started to change the way how Armed Forces function all around the world, there has been an emphasis on modernising our defence culture as well. But, involving virtual reality in order to give realistic-looking experiences to the soldiers is a new concept that the country is exploring. After the USA, India is only the second country to adopt metaverse technology to train soldiers in its entirety.
However, there are many challenges waiting for the Army. Firstly, it will be a cumbersome process to gather data. Secondly, Army and later other services will have to develop their own blockchain in order to ensure that there is no breach of vital data. Finding technologically trained soldiers is going to be another big challenge as most of the soldiers in the Armed Forces hail from a background where they do not have exposure to such high-end and expensive technology.
Read more: Indian armed forces go “Make in India”
As usual, every big change comes with its own set of challenges. The efficient ones overcome them and emerge as totally evolved versions of their former selves. The metaverse and the challenges related to it are going to transform the next generation of the Indian defence establishment.