Axon has announced the launch of its first wireless Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator Training. Axon’s VR Simulator will provide immersive virtual reality content that can help officers develop critical thinking, de-escalation, and tactical skills, the company says.
"Today’s police training methods can be time-consuming, unrealistic and expensive. In addition, the majority of training (sessions) are focused on 'hands-on' use of force, which is necessary, but accounts for less than one percent of police and citizen interactions nationwide. Axon’s VR Simulator provides officers with more access to what they need most: training on how to best interact with the community, de-escalate effectively and support individuals in crisis," the company says.
“Officers on patrol frequently encounter individuals in crisis. Through the use of this breakthrough simulator, we are able to fully immerse officers into common situations, helping prepare them for a number of different variables with an emphasis on de-escalation,” says Rick Smith, Axon CEO and founder. “Our mission has always been to protect life, and by giving law enforcement the ability to work through the situations they see in the field daily, we can help create outcomes that are better for everyone.”
The VR Simulator allows trainees to work through complex scenarios that have been refined and validated by a diverse network of first responders and subject matter experts, according to Axon. One of the first training modules included at launch will cover domestic violence. It allows officers to actually talk and walk through the scenario as they would in the field, with feedback from trainers and supervisors, allowing them to practice more and enhance their skills, better preparing them for the situations they encounter each day.
The wireless VR headsets, provided by industry leading partner, HTC VIVE and their latest HTC VIVE Focus 3, deliver an all-in-one unit that's simple to deploy and use, with no extraneous hardware, time or space constraints. The VR training provides connectivity for both in-person and remote experiences, creating an on-demand platform that can be accessed anytime instead of at a designated training facility.
Axon’s VR Simulator training will also integrate the TASER 7 device and training handguns, so officers can use real hardware in the virtual world, creating muscle memory and familiar responses in the most critical high-risk situations while leveraging a fully-immersive environment.
The Phoenix Police Department will be the first agency to adopt Axon’s new VR Simulator into its existing training curriculum.
“We are always looking for opportunities to innovate and improve our officers’ abilities to handle various calls for service,” says Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams. “Axon’s new training platform allows our officers to run through scenarios in the safety of a controlled learning environment. This technology lets us train more efficiently, benefiting the responding officer and our community.”
The VR Training integrates into an agency’s current training program with connection to the Axon Academy learning management system. The learning objectives and content of Axon Academy and Axon's Community Engagement VR Training feed into the scenarios of the VR Simulator. The Community Engagement VR Training launched in 2018 and is now used by more than one thousand police agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Currently available modules include Schizophrenia, Autism, Suicidal Ideation, Hard of Hearing, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Veteran Post-Traumatic Stress Injury, Peer Intervention, and Domestic Violence. New content is released each month.
Axon is currently accepting orders for the VR Simulator Training, and will ship to U.S. customers in the third quarter of 2021.