The Norwegian Military Wants to Use Oculus Rift to Navigate Tanks

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
May 5 2014 7:13 PM

The Norwegian Military Wants to Use Oculus Rift to Navigate Tanks

tank_1
Hard at work in virtual reality.

Screencap from TuTV.

Parallel parking is really difficult. If you practice enough, you can get to a good place with it, but even the most expert parkers can cut too early or too late sometimes. But when you're driving a military tank, the visibility situation is even worse, and a mistake could be more dangerous than hitting a bumper or having to start over. So the Norwegian Armed Forces are using the Oculus Rift to give tank drivers 360-degree virtual reality vision.

It's probably still difficult to park a tank, but at least the VR view lets the driver see everywhere instead of having a partially obscured view and multiple blind spots. Right now the Norwegian army is just testing prototypes, but eventually terrain maps, a dashboard of vehicle diagnostics, or other information could easily be added in the virtual reality field of view for easy access.

Advertisement

The Rift technology is not quite mature enough to be used in combat settings at this point—by the way the Norwegian army is currently active in Afghanistan, just a quick recap—but army officials seem to think it will get there within a few years. “This is a very promising concept. We see that the glasses don‘t yet have the necessary screen resolution to see well at a distance, and they may cause some dizziness for the driver. But this, we believe, will be improved quickly,“ Major Ola Petter Odden told Norwegian news channel TuTV.

But in the future VR technology would especially be useful in combat scenarios during which drivers need to keep tank hatches closed. Now if only the Rift could make street parking easier.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 2 2014 1:05 PM What's Wrong With "America's Ugliest Accent"
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 1:29 PM Want to Know What Makes David Fincher Great? Focus on What He Doesn’t Do.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 1:22 PM If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would You Notice? What cyranoid experiments reveal about how people act.  
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?