HTX Labs Awarded SBIR Grant by US Air Force for Virtual Reality Pilot Training Program

April 23, 2019

HTX Labs, LLC, the creator of enterprise immersive training  and simulation programs for global business entities and government institutes, is the recipient of the U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant. The award provides funding for the continued development of training simulations built on HTX Labs’ EMPACT Virtual Reality (VR) platform that are designed to enhance student understanding, retention and mastery of military protocols. 

According to the Air Force, “AFRL and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in SBIR 18.2, the Air Force has begun offering ‘Special’ SBIR topics that are faster, leaner and open to a broader range of solutions”.

The Phase I SBIR Award follows successful deployments of Virtual Reality-based programs by HTX previously initiated for the Pilot Training Next (PTN) program, and provides a fast-track mechanism for any branch of the military to work directly with the Houston-based company on training simulations. Additionally, the award provides the ability for continued development of cutting-edge, immersive technology that leverages artificial intelligence, advanced biometrics and analytics to systematically and objectively measure the effectiveness of a training program by comparing an aggregate of students or a single student against an expert or a group of experts performing the exact same set of tasks. 

Through immersive, hands-on simulations, students learn the necessary skills to perform their job in a completely safe and controlled environment that allows them to experience a life-like situation that may otherwise be impossible to create in real-life. For example, the PTN program tests a student pilot’s ability to respond and initiate procedures under the distress of a simulated fire in the cockpit. 

“HTX has provided us an immersive emergency procedure trainer that filled an essential gap in our pilot training program. They are a responsive and attentive company, that have been great to work with!”, commented Paul “Slew” Vicars, Lead for the Pilot Training Next (PTN) program for the U. S. Air Force.

“We are honored to be a SBIR Phase I Select company, and are excited to help the Air Force train the  fighter pilot of the future,” said Scott Schneider, Co-Founder and CEO of HTX Labs. “The ability for a startup to work with any branch of the military based on the SBIR process is a tremendous opportunity, and we’re looking forward to developing simulations that improve student responsiveness and accuracy to situations that are inherently dangerous. We want to keep our military personnel safe, and Virtual Reality plays a big role in meeting that objective.”