SubSafe was an experimental interactive VR spatial awareness training tool we designed for Royal Navy Submarine Qualification (SMQ) instructors to investigate the potential for VR to replace legacy training media.
SubSafe allowed users to navigate the decks and compartments of a submarine in a “first-person” mouse-and-keyboard game style. SMQ trainees had access to all decks forward of the control room, comprising over 30 compartments and 500 different objects – including fire extinguishers, hose reels, high-pressure air valves, and emergency breathing system masks.
A statistical analysis of knowledge transfer data, collated following over a year of experimental trials with the RN’s Submarine School at HM Naval Base Devonport, revealed that use of SubSafe during classroom training significantly improved the final “walkthrough” examination scores of trainees onboard an actual submarine.
Interest in SubSafe has stimulated similar developments for the international submarine community, including virtual walkthroughs for the UK’s Astute Class, the Canadian Victoria Class and the Australian Collins Class. Digital SubSafe assets were also re-used to develop a 3D animation of the March 2007 HMS Tireless Self-Contained Oxygen Generator (SCOG) explosion incident for the Coroner’s Court of Inquiry.