FAA seeks industry input on 'extended reality' simulation software

March 7, 2023
The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) aims to establish an XR laboratory to utilize these enabling technologies to to enhance training, performance, and safety.

WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a need for extended reality software to support training and technical reasearch and is looking for industry input. Extended reality (XR) encapsulates augmented-, virtual-, and mixed-reality technolgies (AR, VR, MR respectively).

AR is the combination of digital and real objects where the digital information is overlaid on the real-world environment. MR also combines digital information with real-world objects, but enables additional interactions between the user, physical objects, and virtual objects. VR is a fully artificial environment that simulates a user’s presences within a virtual setting. These levels of virtuality can be described as existing along a continuum with each serving a different purpose and function for workforce solutions.

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) aims to establish an XR laboratory to utilize these enabling technologies to to enhance training, performance, and safety. This laboratory will support research being conducted within the National Airspace System (NAS) Human Factors Safety Research Laboratory (AAM-520) on the use of XR technologies within the NAS.

Currently, CAMI performs research using a variety of traditional simulators and physical equipment. Most of these require an associated structure that are expensive and difficult to modify. The XR Lab will leverage the power of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies to create research scenarios and simulation environments without the associated structural constraints – enabling “simulation without structures”.

This technology will allow CAMI to rapidly update its simulation environments to reflect the frequent changes and advances in NAS technologies and aviation systems. CAMI says that rather than building a physical mockup of a simulated environment, which must be rebuilt and/or modified with each change in the NAS, the institute could update their simulation with an update to the software. Furthermore, XR technology has the potential to facilitate collection of human performance data that have previously been beyond our capabilities. This laboratory will allow CAMI and the FAA to research the myriad uses of XR for different aviation work environments, thereby providing human factors input on the correct use of these technologies to interested parties throughout the agency.

The required delivery includes the software and initial scenario development to stand up a fully functional XR Laboratory to support training and technical research. The XR Laboratory will be used by CAMI researchers to collect human in the loop (HITL) data in a variety of test environments. The Lab must be able to support a variety of research with the ability to add additional scenarios as needed. Although laboratory solutions are not required to support the collection of wearer eye-movement data, additional consideration will be given to solutions that can be shown to support the collection of these types of data.

CAMI anticipates the XR software solution will include:

The vendor must provide the following Software:

  •  Professional 3D software
  • Data collection software
  • Two initial scenarios – one using VR and one using AR

In addition, CAMI says it expects support to include:

  • Operation/functionality of the software
  • Scenario development and modifications
  • Exporting performance data from software.

The results of this market survey will be used to determine the acquisition strategy in support of an award. This is a market survey only and should not be construed as a contract or a commitment of any kind. This inquiry runs until 27 March 2023. For more information, please visit https://sam.gov/opp/d0901b02b91a496785fe7e3aa66e5034/view. Questions can be directed to Nia Glover at [email protected], or call 405-954-7831.

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