US’ Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) has collaborated with military shipbuilding company Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) to create laser scans of vessels and develop virtual training simulations for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) workforce.
Taking 90 to 100 individual scans of the warship USS John C. Stennis to build a virtual replica of the ship, the US navy can then perform ship checks onboard.
These scans are sewn together to develop an accurate (to an eighth of an inch depending on the post production of the scans) replica and we can perform ship checks onboard the Stennis in a timely manner. Ship checks can take hours onboard the vessel, maneuvering the inner works of the ship to get where we need to go. This option doesn’t completely remove onboard ship checks from the equation but it does provide an 80 to 90% effective way to complete the work,
…explained Aerospace Engineer Christopher Snider.
Both NNSY and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) have the technology for laser scanning and there are currently efforts being done to scan all vessels at America’s Shipyard.
Unlike hand drawings which don’t provide us the whole picture, these scans are a snapshot in time that shows us every component, every measurement. We can show those with a need-to-know the different areas and show them what work is being done onboard. It’s a valuable innovation,
In addition to the point cloud scans, Snider and Computer Engineer Daniel Stith have developed a virtual reality training simulation for worker qualifications for Code 105 from the ground-up.
Virtual reality can address training, which can be pretty expensive and time-consuming.
Plus once one run-through is completed, we have to reset the mockup which can take hours or even days depending on the size. With virtual reality, we’ve developed our own training modules for our folks so they can have that training experience in real time. They are able to make mistakes without any real world consequences and learn from them. It provides the repetition for the students and the ability to see their results in real time so they can address them at that moment. And when we need to reset, all we have to do is press a button,
In addition to the controllers, they also have a hands-free model, as well as a walking rig, to simulate walking during the training to make everything feel more real for the trainee, Snider explained.
Virtual reality isn’t going to be a replacement for all our training platforms but we want to see how it works for our trainees and what we can do to improve the simulations we develop. We’re also looking into more technology and controllers to help make the simulation feel as real as possible for them,
The simulation is currently in small-scale implementation at the shipyard as the team continues to build its simulations to fit the needs to the trainers.