Nine projects will share an initial £1 million to develop technology and innovative solutions to overcome increasing ‘information overload’ faced by crews as part of DASA’s Intelligent Ship: The Next Generation competition.
More specifically, DASA, on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), is looking at how future defence platforms can be designed and optimised to exploit current and future advances in:
- Machine learning;
- Artificial Intelligence.
This work will inform requirements then develop applications essential to the future force in an increasingly complex and AI driven environment. Although titled Intelligent Ship, a warship is just the prototype demonstrator for this competition. The project will inform development relevant to all defence equipment and military services.
Crews are already facing information overload with thousands of sources of data, intelligence, and information. By harnessing automation, autonomy, machine learning and artificial intelligence with the real-life skill and experience of our men and women, UK aims to revolutionise the way future fleets are put together and operate to keep the UK safe.
Innovations developed in phase 1 of the competition could later help determine the different platform types, size and role of future platforms as well potentially being adapted and integrated into the existing fleet.
Defence Minister James Heappey stated on the occasion:
The astonishing pace at which global threats are evolving requires new approaches and fresh-thinking to the way we develop our ideas and technology. The funding will research pioneering projects into how A.I and automation can support our armed forces in their essential day-to-day work
What is more, recently the Royal Navy announces its plans to launch unmanned mine hunters and survey technology. Namely, a specialist autonomous kit has now been handed over into military service and will start live operations from March.
Sailors trained in this of type mission will be stationed at HMNB Clyde, where the remotely operated kit, including submersibles and boats designed to hunt down mines but also analyse the oceans and sea floor, will be deployed from.