Vuzix Corporation announced that it has been awarded a $1 million research contract under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) Programme. The funding will go towards research and development of a next generation holographic optical display system for use by Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC).
The new goggles will be able to interface with UAS flying overhead to give the soldier details on what the UAS sees and what it is firing at. That capability will mean that the soldier can get the intelligence that the UAS sees directly without waiting for someone else to offer the report.
Vuzix has designed and recently started production deliveries of similar but current generation devices for the Battlefield Air Operations Kit (BAO). PCAS will fund the development of a high definition (HD) micro display and a see-through holographic optic. This technology is based on Vuzix’ patented Blade Optical system.
The award is for $1 million and will fund a one-year development programme, delivering prototype systems for integration into the larger PCAS programme. PCAS will significantly increase CAS capabilities for both the JTAC and airborne platforms by developing a system of technologies that provides continuous CAS availability and lethality to the supported ground commander.
PCAS will be a ‘system-of-systems’ approach demonstrating the ability to digitally task a CAS platform from the ground. The system will also be designed to reduce collateral damage and potential fratricide to friendly forces. Enabling technologies are: manned/unmanned airborne platforms, next generation graphical user interfaces, data links, digital guidance and control, and advanced targeting and visualization tools.
Paul Travers, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to develop this next generation system, which offers a competitive step-up for our military personnel. Recent advancements in micro display quality, combined with our patented Blade Optical system, are finally enabling the delivery of the HD head mounted displays (HMD’s) which will help improve our ground forces’ safety and effectiveness.”
Vuzix is a leading supplier of Video Eyewear products in the defense, consumer and media & entertainment markets. The Company’s products, personal display devices that offer users a portable high quality viewing experience, provide solutions for mobility, thermal sighting systems, tactical wearable displays and virtual and augmented reality. With its origins in defense research and development for next generation display solutions, Vuzix holds over 51 patents in the Video Eyewear field. The company has won 9 Consumer Electronics Show Innovations Awards, the RetailVision Best New Product and several wireless technology innovation awards, among others. Founded in 1997, Vuzix is a public company with offices in Rochester, NY, Oxford, UK and Tokyo, Japan.