May 11, 2007: The U.S.
Army has received the first of ten Stryker vehicle simulators. Costing $800,000
each, they duplicate the driver and commander stations, using several video
screens to display computer supplied views of where they are. Using the same kind
of 3-D graphics found in high-end video games, the Stryker simulator becomes
"immersive" (the user forgets they are in a simulator.)
Armored vehicle simulators
have become increasingly common in the American army. One reason is cost,
because for each kilometer these vehicles travel, it costs up to $25 in fuel,
maintenance and spare parts. That number is pretty shocking to most people, but
armored vehicles cost up to five million dollars each, and are full of complex
mechanical and electronic gadgets that wear out quickly.
The Stryker simulator
allows new drivers to get lots of practice without wearing out vehicles. It
also allows drivers and commanders to increase their teamwork, and to try out
maneuvers that are risky, but sometimes necessary (in combat.) This also saves
a lot of wear and tear, not to mention avoiding the risk of injury.
The software includes
driving simulation for a wide variety of terrain (desert, mountain, urban) and
weather (Summer rains, Spring mud and Winter ice).