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The successful execution of ground combat operations depends on gaining and maintaining situational awareness of terrain, friendly troops, control measures, weapon systems, and enemy forces. Existing tools require Soldiers to access data on maps, smartphones and tablets in a heads-down posture, which distracts from close-combat tasks, potentially jeopardizing safety as their attention is drawn away from what is happening directly in front of them.

An advanced Augmented Reality technology, ARC4 (Augmented Reality, Command, Control, Communicate, Coordinate) enables the user to acquire time-critical geo-spatial information with their ‘head-up’ and ‘eyes-out’ on the environment.

The U.S. Army awarded Applied Research Associates (ARA) a sole-source contract to integrate its patent-protected software ARC4 into current and future Army vision systems and Army vision device displays.

The solution is is an advanced augmented reality (AR) technology that delivers heads-up situational awareness for outdoor on-the-move applications, according to the company website.

The user sees virtual icons overlaid on their real-world view. The AR fusion engine incorporates advanced head tracking sensors and algorithms, network management software, and an intuitive user interface to overlay iconic information on the user’s environment. ARC4 allows teams to perform tasks with high awareness of their surroundings, in close coordination with each other, and with enhanced safety and speed.

The system interfaces to daytime see-through displays and night-vision goggles.

The software integrates with a variety of hardware vision systems and runs on a variety of computing platforms, according to “Over the past decade, ARA has pioneered high performance augmented reality for the dismounted warfighter,” said ARC4 Product Manager Dave Roberts. “We continue to push the envelope with ARC4 capabilities and are excited to partner with the U.S. Army in providing this game-changing heads-up situational awareness technology to improve warfighter operational tempo, team coordination, and personnel safety.”