Microsoft just received a $480 million contract from the Department of Defense to develop an augmented reality AR system for US army in combat and military training.
The system is officially known as the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). Depending on the results, the US Army may purchase up to 100,000 units to arm soldiers and improve battlefield judgment and ability to engage. Although equipment such as HoloLens had been used by the US and Israel forces for training a long time, it will be the first time for such product being used in actual combat.
A spokesperson of Microsoft said that the technology is mainly to help soldiers to judge the situation and make decisions faster. The plan will also allow Microsoft to have closer cooperation and trust in the Ministry of Defense. HoloLens was originally been the advanced device in the market, but the consumer market is not big enough, and now the US Army become their biggest customer. The specifications of the military is far exceed the current consumption level and will be equipped with night vision, thermal sensing, vital sign measurement and hearing protection, etc.
According to the news from Bloomber, a new cooperation Magic Leap for AR also participated in the bidding this time. And tried to become a part of the military industrial complex. In recent years, the technology industry has been striving for the defense contract, and the traditional military industry may welcome a new wave of AR use in the near future.
However, there are still many oppositions in public opinion. Although many employees hope that the company can return from the Ministry of Defense cloud computing project, they still won the bid. How a Navy SEAL Sets up his AR
The US Department of Defense has become one of the important customers of the technology industry. This is good news for the stock market. Microsoft once surpassed Apple's market value, but the follow-up dispute is still going on. Microsoft President and Chief Justice Brad Smith said that Microsoft will not stop cooperating with the Ministry of Defense. If their employees have moral concerns, they can apply to work at another departments.
Brad Smith emphasizes that AR technology have caused changes in many fields, including autonomous weapons, but there's no government or military in the world is willing to involve in the war. If people who know these technologies leave the conversation, they can't expect to solve these problems wisely.