SAN MATEO, Calif., 20 April 2006. Stottler Henke Associates Inc., previously involved in the intelligent tutoring system (ITS) for training U.S. Navy tactical action officers (TAOs), has been contracted to develop an enhanced version of a simulation-based training system designed to make the training experience more realistic, engaging, and effective.
Under the contract, valued at roughly $2.5 million, Stottler Henke is creating software that will work with a Northrop Grumman-developed WatchStation simulator, to be used during training exercises at the U.S. Navy's Surface Warfare Officer's School (SWOS) in Rhode Island.
"The speech-enabled graphical user interface will more accurately represent how a TAO actually works on board a Navy ship by enabling the student to converse with simulated crew members to issue commands and receive information," Dick Stottler, president of Stottler Henke Associates, says. "The new TAO ITS will employ intelligent agents, rather than instructors, to play the roles of simulated crew members. This will reduce the staff overhead required to conduct effective TAO training. The new system will automatically evaluate the student's performance in real-time and infer tactical principles that were applied correctly, or not applied, so it can coach the student during each scenario."
The TAO controls a ship's weapons and sensors and directs the movements of the ship, other support vessels, and aircraft. The TAO monitors the movements and actions of friendly and enemy ships, planes, missiles, and submarines in the region. The TAO integrates this information in real time to form a dynamic tactical picture, select appropriate responses, and issue orders.
The TAO ITS enables students to act as TAOs in tactical simulations. The system displays a geographical map of the region and provides rapid access to the ship's sensor, weapon, and communication functions.
Stottler Henke's SimBionic authoring tool will enable the system's developers to develop complex behaviors for computer-generated forces, such as friendly and enemy ships and aircraft, without software programming.
SimBionic will also enable rapid authoring of sophisticated, pattern-matching algorithms that recognize temporal sequences of simulated actions, events, and states to evaluate the student's performance and provide feedback.
A total of 10 areas of expertise will be addressed by the new TAO ITS when it is completed, including surface, undersea, and search-and-rescue operations.
The first area Stottler Henke is developing is air defense-detect to engage, in which a student must assess incoming aircraft and respond appropriately. It is expected to be ready for initial use at SWOS this Fall.