MIAMI – Miami is welcoming another tech company onto its sunny shores, and its mission is to revolutionize what’s been common practice in the military for decades.
“Red 6″ uses augmented reality technology to train fighter pilots in extreme and dynamic conditions. This technology creates a virtual world up in the sky that allows them to see virtual adversaries or other obstacles they need to overcome.
“I think the metaverse for the military is going to be critically important to the future of how we train and operate,” founder and CEO of Red 6 Daniel Robinson said.
The company created a program called the airborne tactical augmented reality system (ATARS).
Unlike virtual reality, where the environment around you is entirely fabricated, this instead overlays virtual images and layouts onto what is actually being physically seen. The constructed images can be controlled either by artificial intelligence or by someone remotely.
Now, allowing what used to be done with multiple pilots, multiple aircraft, and significant sums of money, can be accomplished with only one pilot in the air.
The blending of technology and military training isn’t an entirely new concept, as it already exists in some capacities.
For example, the U.S. Army and Microsoft announced in 2021 the production of augmented reality headsets to train soldiers, as well as the U.S. Air Force using virtual reality to train pilots. The U.S. Navy also has “project avenger,” a pilot training program using similar technology and personalized teaching techniques.
“The question is, how do we do that efficiently? My contention was, we can provide better training at a fraction of the cost by simulating adversaries if we could put them in the real world, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Robinson said.
Robinson is a former fighter pilot who was inspired at a young age to reach for the sky by watching movies like Superman, Star Wars, and Top Gun.
He flew with the Royal Air Force in the U.K., then was selected for an exchange tour to the U.S. Air Force and flew the U.S. F-22 Raptor Stealth Fighter – becoming the first non-American fighter pilot to do so.
Robinson said all those years of experience gave him insight into what he’s been trying to do since launching Red 6 in 2018.
“It’s important that we understand at the core of how we will think about training and fighting in the future. Technology is one of the key pillars of that, and embracing technology to solve a really important national security crisis is the kind of angle that drives us,” Robinson said.
It’s helping the U.S. keep up in what Robinson describes as a technological arms race – facing the re-emergence of Russia on the world stage and the rise of China.
Armed with a recent contract from the Air Force worth up to $70 million, Robinson feels Red 6 is positioned to grow and continue developing this technology, ultimately bolstering what he sees as critical to this country’s future.
“There is evil in the world, right? There are fundamental rights and wrongs, and if our soldiers, sailors, and airmen ever get the call to go protect this country or the country of others, I want them to be so overwhelmingly lethal and credible that no one wants to mess with the United States,” Robinson said.
After moving from California, the company is now in Miami, with the offices planned for somewhere in the downtown area.
Red 6 also has plans to open its technology hub in Orlando. Robinson cites the city’s academic institutions and innovation as a strong companion piece to the culture and vibrancy of Miami.
Robinson believes the future is bright, and the Sunshine State is the place for Red 6′s future success.
“When I look back and reflect, I’ve had an extraordinary privilege to lead the life I’ve led. It’s been full of challenges, like anyone else, but I find myself in this section now where I’m living with true purpose, working on problems that I really care about with people that I really love,” Robinson said.
As the company’s full transition to Florida continues, Robinson said they’re still looking at locations to determine where they will conduct flight operations.
No firm date has been given on where and when those flights will start, but he says there is a lot more to come.