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Civil

Using the Power of Modeling & Simulation for First Responder Training, Emergency Response Preparedness, and Critical Infrastructure Protection

The homeland security, emergency response, and public safety communities face challenges similar to those dealt with in the military domain--they need to plan and train. But large scale live simulations are simply too disruptive to be conducted with regularity. Catastrophic emergencies require coordination of local and state public safety personnel, emergency management personnel, National Guard, and possibly regular military. Interoperability is a major problem.

Civil Solutions

These are some of the ways people are using MAK's products for Defense and Homeland Security today:

Incident Management

 

Incident Management

Using the Power of Modeling & Simulation for First Responder Training, Emergency Response Preparedness, and Critical Infrastructure Protection

The homeland security, emergency response, and public safety communities face challenges similar to those dealt with in the military domain--they need to plan and train. But large scale live simulations are simply too disruptive to be conducted with regularity. Catastrophic emergencies require coordination of local and state public safety personnel, emergency management personnel, National Guard, and possibly regular military. Interoperability is a major problem.

On a basic level, simulations require generic urban terrains with multi-story interior models, transportation infrastructure such as subways and airports, and the ability to simulate crowd behaviors and traffic. They may require terrains for specific urban areas or transportation infrastructure. Given the role of ubiquitous communications in the public sector, the ability to simulate communications networks (land-line, cell, data) and disruptions in them may also be important. For specialized emergency response training, the ability to simulate chemical, biological, and radiological dispersion may also be necessary.

The need for simulation and training in this domain is self evident. The budgetary constraints are daunting for many agencies. The cost-effective solutions that VT MAK has developed for the defense community can provide immediate benefits to homeland security, emergency response, and public safety agencies.

  • First Responder Training
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Perimeter Monitoring/Security
  • Human Behavior Studies

MAK can help you use simulation systems to keep your homeland secure. We can help you:

  • Link simulation components into simulation systems, or connect systems into world-wide interoperable distributed simulation networks.
  • Build and Populate 3D simulation environments (a.k.a. virtual worlds), from vehicle or building interiors to urban terrain areas, to the whole planet.
  • Simulate the mobility, dynamics and behavior of people and vehicles; from individual role players to large scale simulations involving 10’s of thousands of entities.
  • Visualize the simulation to understand analytical results or participate in immersive experiences.

Joint Incident Management Training

Taking incident management training to the next level with simulation

 

When disaster strikes, communities rely on incident management teams to respond immediately by taking actions to save lives and property. Incident management staff in the United States is commonly divided into two separate groups- Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) and Emergency Operations Center Teams (EOCTs). This setup has been adopted by many states, local governments, and the private sector. This commonality improves coordination between all layers of public and private bureaucracy.

 

ERTs work on-the-ground to provide life- and property-saving actions, mitigate issues, and gather information. EOCTs work as a command/control center to develop a Plan of Action involving Incident Command, Operations, Communications, Resources Management, Logistics, and Records.

 

The success of the ERTs is directly dependant on EOCTs’ ability to effectively command and control a situation. To maximize effectiveness, EOC team members require effective contextualized training. Unfortunately, the lack of simulation available for EOCT training in the past limited the scope of practice available to them in terms of context. Simulation can help take EOC to the next level in terms of contextualizing situations and better helping them manage peripheral aspects of an operation that are either too expensive or impossible to generate in a real-world environment.

 

Cross-Training: Simulation is an ideal way to cross-train ERTs and EOCTs together in order to build cohesion and organization in the face of emergency. Cross-training can also work well vertically, as federal, state, local and private groups can co-develop mutually beneficial disaster planning. Certain scenarios lend themselves to cross-training in a simulation environment, including Temporary Infrastructure / Supply Delivery, Wildfire – Detection and Extinguishing, High-Rise Building Fire Response, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, or Explosive (CBRNE) Event, and Search and Rescue Operations.

 

Crowd and Traffic Control: MAK’s human characters can be set up to mimic crowds that would gather at or away from the scene of an incident, giving EOCTs the opportunity to set up barriers and  manage flows of people. MAK’s AI allows for crowds to build up and dissipate, intelligently plan paths around temporary obstacles, and flood your scene with busy commuters at rush hour.

 

Structural and Risk Assessment: UAV simulations can be used to train EOCTs to advise ERTs’ on situational awareness, help them locate injured parties at the scene, and perform structural analysis of damaged infrastructure. The superior vantage point of the UAV provides teams with maximum awareness while preventing ERT’s from entering potentially dangerous or contaminated areas.

Logistics Support: MAK’s simulation technology allows for testing of evacuation mapping and planning. Develop temporary infrastructure designs, evacuate casualties, and simulate supply delivery plans to test the feasibility of your Plan of Action.

Implementation of New Technology: As new technology emerges, agencies can simulate the new resource and determine the value of acquiring it in their model. If an acquisition is made, they can train their operatives to use the new technology via simulation to minimize training costs and maximize effectiveness. This is also effective for training when making policy/procedure changes.

For more information on our human character simulation capabilities, check out our Humans products.

Critical Infrastructure Protection

The homeland security, emergency response, and public safety communities face challenges similar to those dealt with in the military domain--they need to plan and train. But large scale live simulations are simply too disruptive to be conducted with regularity. Catastrophic emergencies require coordination of local and state public safety personnel, emergency management personnel, National Guard, and possibly regular military. Interoperability is a major problem.

Drone Operations

 

Drone Operations

What’s at Stake?

You are tasked with training a team of sensor payload operators to use UAVs for urban reconnaissance missions in a specific city. Upon completion of training, trainees must be able to comb an area for a target, make a positive identification, monitor behavior and interactions, radio in an airstrike, and then report on the outcome.
An ineffective training environment could lead to additional costs, losing important targets, and inefficient surveillance systems. Training with a robust solution enhances homeland security human resources for a minimal product investment.

What Are We Building?

As the instructor, you need to mock up a ground control station with accurate pilot/payload operator role definitions and supply that system with surveillance data from a content-rich simulation environment. You need to construct a scene that is informative, while providing trainees with opportunities to develop their instincts and test their operating procedures based on how the scenario unfolds.
Each UAV must be equipped with an electro-optical camera as well as an infrared sensor mounted to a gimbal. Radio communication between the UAV operators and a central command center must be available to coordinate surveillance and call in airstrikes.
Trainees need to experience the scenario through the electro-optical sensor and infrared sensor with rich, accurate data overlays to provide them with the information they need to communicate positioning and targeting effectively.
Your urban environment requires crowds of people who behave in realistic ways and traverse the city in intelligent paths. When a UAV operator spots someone, they need to be able to lock onto them when they are in motion to mimic algorithmic tracking tools.
The simulation needs to be adjustable in real time so that the instructor can minimize repeat behaviors and walk the team through different scenarios. Instructors also must be able to judge the effectiveness of a trainee’s technique.

MAK’s Solution

In this particular case, VR-Forces provides all the software you need to bring your environment to life.

VR-Forces is an ideal tool for scenario development. It can model UAVs in fine detail, while allowing for instructors to customize those entities based on the scope of a mission. It’s simple to add the gimbal mounted sensor array that we need for this scenario and define parameters for - including zoom, zoom speed, slew rate, and gimbal stops.

Easily populate an urban environment with people by using the group objects function to add crowds of entities at a time. VR-Forces has features from Autodesk's Gameware built in, enabling Pattern of Life intelligent flows of people and vehicles, in addition to plotting the locations and tasks of individual entities. The Pattern of Life lets you manipulate patterns within the scenario – including realistic background traffic, whether it’s people, road, or air. Certain DI-Guy capabilities have been integrated into VR-Forces, meaning behavior modeling is more authentic, thanks to motion capture technology. Now you can train your team to look out for certain suspicious movements and calibrate their responses based on the actions of the target.

Sensor modeling is a point of strength for VR-Forces. Give your trainees a beautiful, detailed point of view of the scene through the electro-optical sensor, and provide a high-fidelity infrared sensor display when the daylight fades. VR-Forces adds accurate data overlays so that trainees can learn to quickly and accurately read and report based on that information. Instructors can visualize 3D volumetric view frustums and assess trainees’ combing strategies as well as any gaps in coverage, and engineer surveillance systems. We model sensor tracking to lock onto targets while they are in movement or on a fixed location.

What really makes VR-Forces perfect for training is the ability of instructors to manipulate the scenario in real time. You can keep your trainees from running scenarios that are too predictable by having your target enter buildings, change his mode of transportation, or actively attempt to avoid detection, all during live action.

Interested in Learning More? Have a look at the VR-Forces page for more information.  

Can we interest you in a personal demonstration.

Developing Air and Ground Traffic Policy

 

Developing Air and Ground Traffic Policy in a World Increasingly Populated by UAS

As UAS technologies become more accessible, an increase in air traffic, particularly around urban centers is inevitable. It will be essential for governments and their agencies to develop policies with regards to air traffic and its relationship with ground traffic, specifically for low-flying UASs, and particularly in emergency situations. Well-developed traffic management will maximize safe traffic speed in regular conditions and divert flows efficiently in emergency scenarios when first-responders are rushing to a scene. Poor planning may result in economic and human loss. Simulation is an ideal space to test current traffic policies under changing conditions and to research and develop new solutions.

 

The Challenge:

Governments and agencies need a tool that can depict an area modeled after their own and simulate air traffic within it. The tool should be capable of depicting specific types of air traffic, including planes, helicopters, and UASs, as well as airspace demarcation. There needs to be a concurrent display of ground traffic, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles - particularly around the scene of an incident. Policymakers want to be able to visualize traffic flows and craft response strategies for general and specific situations.

 

The MAK Solution:

VT MAK offers commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to construct airspace simulations, backed by a company with an “engineer down the hall” philosophy to help organizations select and implement the most effective solution.

 

VR-Forces provides a scalable computer-generated forces simulation engine capable of populating an environment with air and ground traffic, as well as infrastructure specific to traffic systems. There is plenty of out-of-the-box content of all shapes and sizes, from sUAS up to 747s in the air, and everything from human characters and bicyclists to fire trucks on the ground. If an out-of-the-box model needs to be modified to match local specifications, or if an agency wants to create their own from scratch, MAK’s open-source API allows for full customization of entity appearance and performance.

 

VR-Forces depicts volumetric airspace regulations, giving policymakers a three-dimensional perspective of air corridors and restricted spaces as they swell and shrink. Crucially, volumetric airspace restrictions can be assigned to impact air and ground traffic systems accordingly. For example, if there was an auto accident, set policies could dictate an air restriction in the area up to a certain height to provide space for UAS emergency response and redirect UAS traffic as long as necessary. At the same time, traffic on the ground within a particular radius may have their speeds reduced, or lanes may be opened specifically for first responders to access the scene more readily.

 

Policymakers can calibrate the size and rules applied to air corridors and measure the impact of these changes on the traffic patterns of the city. VR-Forces is capable of depicting traffic density as it shifts with new incidents, even assigning a color-coded density maps to better visualize areas of congestion in air and on the ground.

 

VR-TheWorld allows policymakers to test these impacts inside any city for which they have the terrain data, through a through a web-based interface. This creates the most realistic testing lab for research and development projects.

 

Want to learn more? Have a look at the VR-Forces page for more information. interested in seeing a demonstration?