HTX Labs wins funding from US Air Force for VR training

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Immersive training and simulation programme startup HTX Labs has been awarded funding to continue developing its platform for military applications.

The US Air Force granted the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award to Houston-based HTX after adopting the startup’s Empact virtual reality (VR) platform for pilot training.

So far, HTX’s work with the Air Force has focused on developing and testing a student pilot’s ability in certain, difficult-to-predict scenarios, such as responding to and initiating emergency procedures under the distress of various hazardous conditions that might take place in a Beechcraft T-6A cockpit.

The startup has managed to reduce a student pilot’s training time in these areas from 12 months to between four and six.

Paul Vicars, lead for the US Air Force Pilot Training Next (PTN) programme, explained: “HTX has provided us an immersive emergency procedure trainer that filled an essential gap in our pilot training programme. They are a responsive and attentive company, that have been great to work with.”

HTX intends to use the Air Force funding to take Empact to the next level by developing artificial intelligence, advanced biometrics and analytics that will allow it to measure the effectiveness of a VR training programme.

This will entail comparing an aggregate of students or a single student against an expert or a group of experts performing the exact same set of tasks.

“We’re looking forward to developing simulations that improve student responsiveness and accuracy to situations that are inherently dangerous.”

Scott Schneider, co-founder and chief executive officer of HTX Labs

Scott Schneider, co-founder and chief executive officer of HTX, said: “We are honoured to be a SBIR Phase I Select company, and are excited to help the Air Force train the aviator of the future.”

“The ability for a startup to work with any branch of the military based on the SBIR process is a tremendous opportunity, and we’re looking forward to developing simulations that improve student responsiveness and accuracy to situations that are inherently dangerous. We want to keep our military personnel safe, and immersive training plays a big role in meeting that objective.”

To learn more about HTX and its work with the US Air Force, watch this video below:

Image credit: HTX Labs