Lockheed Martin’s Virginia-based Center for Innovation is where the security and defense company comes up with its solutions for tomorrow. There, the company tests out new machines and software that may be implemented into products, programs, and software down the line.
For example, at the facility the company tests out devices to make for better and safer products. One drone, for instance, clings to surfaces to allow for Lockheed Martin to inspect planes for safety issues.
The center doesn’t just test out physical products, but software, too. In one area of the facility, Lockheed can do full computerized simulations. Fast Company got the chance to sit inside one place, called “sector five,” and experience a helicopter simulation. We sat in the cockpit, flew over the sea, and experienced an attack scenario. While it seems like a fun video game to us, it’s this kind of software that lets clients—like the U.S. Navy—test out new ideas and see how they would work if implemented in the real world.
Along those lines, the Center for Innovation is focused on figuring out how new technology can advance systems already in place. For example, a well-known modeling program used by the Navy called a “Ouija Board” was innovated at the Lockheed hub by adding a digital element. Before, the scheme looked like an analog board game, where decision-makers could move objects atop a map as a way to strategize. At the center, the company digitized the moving objects so they could be visualized in a VR setting, which adds a level of reality to the system; Lockheed Martin uses this in certain war-game environments.
Overall, the innovation center is a place where the well-established company can figure out new solutions to old problems. The intention is to graft technology onto trusted programs and systems to make them even better. It’s easier to get a true sense of Lockheed’s innovation program by seeing it in action, so take a look and see for yourself.