UK SME Blue Bear has put a 20-drone swarm through its paces.
Royal Navy tasks team to add AI to UUVs
The Royal Navy is exploring the addition of using artificial intelligence (AI) to task autonomous submersibles to hunt underwater mines.
BAE Systems’ Applied intelligence business line and geospatial and data company Envitia have teamed to provide this to the service under the navy’s Route Survey & Tasking Analysis (RSTA) project, which will involve them adapting autonomous systems with AI, delivering this for routine mine countermeasure missions by 2022.
Mine-hunting is currently carried out by a fleet of mine-hunter ships using sonar to survey seabeds looking for anomalies, but these new AI-enabled submersibles will be able to scan an object, identify the threat, and make decisions about what to do with it more quickly.
As part of the Mine Countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme, RSTA will intelligently task a fleet of autonomous vehicles, utilising machine learning, to analyse mission conditions and improve the success rate of all its missions over time.
‘AI is set to play a key role in the future of the service,’ Adm Phillip Jones, former First Sea Lord, said.
‘As modern warfare becomes ever faster, and ever more data-driven, our greatest asset will be the ability to cut through the deluge of information to think and act decisively.’
Envitia is the prime contractor for the project, working with BAE Systems Applied Intelligence to deliver RSTA, one of the first applications to be built on the Royal Navy-developed NELSON data platform, a common data platform to deliver coherent access to Royal Navydata at sea and ashore.
‘We’re delighted to be supporting Envitia on this important project, it is hugely complementary to our work on programme NELSON and demonstrates our commitment to supporting SMEs in the UK MoD marketplace,’ Sandy Boxall, BAE Systems sales director, added.
In addition, Envitia is utilising its maritime geospatial toolkit to deliver services into the application, to ensure RSTA has accurate and up-to-date maritime data for each mission.
‘Envitia has a strong heritage with maritime data, and this project demonstrates the successful journey Envitia has been on since last year, working with our customers to utilise authoritative data to aid mission planning through to post-mission analysis,’ Nabil Lodey, Envitia’s CEO, noted.
‘This application has the potential to transform mine surveying and increase the efficiency of the navy mine-hunting capability, and we are proud to be leading the way.’
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