US Army developing AI based aided/automatic target acquisition technology for improved situational awareness and reduce response times. - International Defense Security & Technology Inc. (2022)

Ai/ATR is a generic term to describe automated processing functions carried out on imaging sensor data in order to perform operations ranging from simple cuing of a human observer to complex, fully autonomous object acquisition and identification.

ATR can range from fully autonomous, such as, in a missile seeker to aided target recognition (AiTR) processing that presents image annotations to the human observer to make the final decision as to the importance and veracity of the information generated and the action to be taken.

Advancements in EOIR sensor technology have enabled integration of cameras with higher resolutions, improved sensitivity, and multi-spectral imaging onto ground vehicle platforms. These sensors play a critical role in movement, situational awareness and target acquisition in combat environments day and night and have become an integral part of the warfighter’s capabilities.

Current imaging sensors however largely rely on soldier’s continued attention on the image/video display. An abundance of sensors and the complexity of tasks in complex environments has made this a daunting task for the Soldier.

Recent advances in image exploitation, artificial intelligence and machine learning coupled with a surge in demand for increased autonomy of ground platforms have reinvigorated the interest in automatic target detection, recognition, identification and tracking technologies.

US Army plans to use AiTD and AiTR on manned platforms to help reduce Soldier workload, improve situational awareness, and reduce response times. On unmanned ground platforms, AiTD and AiTR become a fundamental enabling technology for autonomous operation and mission execution.

Traditional AiTD and AiTR algorithm development has focused on Moving Target Indication (MTI) and Static Target Indication (STI) of military targets in relatively unpopulated low clutter rural environments.

While this is still an important function, in the future, manned and unmanned ground vehicle platforms will be operated in increasingly complex environments, to include high clutter rural environments such as vehicles or ATGM teams in defilade; as well as urban areas where the enemies may blend in with natural patterns of life. Future AiTD and AiTR approaches will be required to perform basic detection and recognition functionalities in this environment, but will also need to provide more advanced automated behaviors to discriminate and prioritize potential threats.

Significant technological challenges exist to successfully utilizing traditional computer vision and emerging machine learning technologies in operational combat environments. Some of these challenges include robustness and reliability of algorithms, SWAP-C of computational hardware, and limited data communication and computational bandwidth. However, arguably a bigger challenge to successfully deliver of AiTR/AiTD capabilities to the warfighter has been the mismatch between the operational requirement/expectation of the soldier and the capabilities and readiness of the AiTR/AiTD technology, says US Army

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Military Ai / ATR technology

All three services are engaged in research and development for reliable Ai/ATR capabilities for myriad combat missions. Army, Navy, and Air Force are pursuing Ai/ATR with sensor packages for their respective platforms to do the following: reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, fire control, wide-area search and track, countermine, and sensor fusion. Change detection and MTI that relates to target disposition are also of interest.

Army sensor assets typically emphasize EO/IR because of sensor size, weight, and power constraints on the platform, whereas Navy and Air Force tend to emphasize high range resolution and SAR radars due to the long stand-off ranges associated with ship and aircraft engagement ranges.

An Ai/ATR operates on sensor data in order to process information for decision making. The primary value added to a weapons system of an Ai/ATR is engagement timeline reduction for target(s) acquisition. The rapid and reliable acquisition and servicing of targets increase lethality and survivability of the weapons platform/soldier.

There are many military scenarios where a reliable Ai/ATR capability would provide an enormous capability to the soldier. Persistent surveillance (PS) relies on things that change in a scene and use change-detection algorithms and moving-target indication (MTI). Change detection can be a major tool in improvised explosive detection (IED) detection. Disturbed earth, where a device has been buried, presents a significantly different signature than undisturbed earth. The disturbed earth presents a much more uniform, blackbody like, spectral signature compared to the much more structured signature of undisturbed soil. Extremely large coverage areas, such as that required in PS or for airborne detection of IEDs along a roadway, with sufficient resolution and update rate become driving sensor parameters.

Ai/ATR can also enable the overcoming of unmanned air-/ground-vehicle bandwidth limitations by selection for transmission of only target information to a weapons platform. A reliable onboard Ai/ATR would select and send only target information back to the unmanned air vehicle (UAV) operator without the enormous data bandwidth for transmission of the complete scene over the flight path from which the operator must extract the target.

Munitions precision targeting and lock-on-after-launch seekers are other examples of fully autonomous ATR. The need for ground-to-ground Ai/ATR in urban environments is amplified due to the huge fields of regard (∼2π steradians), the shortness of timelines, and the need to discriminate combatant from noncombatant. The Ai/ATR task difficulty is extremely task dependent, and a canonical data set is always a concern for training and evaluation in a military scenario.

There is a whole hierarchy of possible tasks that can be of interest for an Ai/ATR algorithm. The level of discrimination can cover a whole gamut, from detection to classification to recognition to identification.

Today, one of the most difficult tasks of interest is identification of intent. Whereas, in the past, detection of a human may have been sufficient, today the soldier must also determine the intent of the human detected. Is the intent of the detected human hostile?

US Army Military requirements

U.S. Army posted a request for information for Aided Target Detection and Recognition Technologies for Manned and Unmanned Ground Vehicles in Complex Environments.The primary objective of this RFI is to canvas a wide community of traditional and non-traditional providers of technology solutions and services to help identify current state of art in the areas of aided and automatic target detection, recognition and tracking for Electro Optical Infra-Red (EOIR) sensors.

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This includes, but is not limited to, machine learning and deep learning approaches for real-time exploitation and enhanced situational awareness for ground-based manned and unmanned platforms operating in complex rural and urban environments.

The primary emphasis of the RFI is to identify Aided Target Detection (AiTD) and Aided Target Recognition (AiTR) algorithms, image and video processing, machine vision, and sensor exploitation technologies for manned and unmanned ground vehicles to enable increasing levels of artificial intelligence. However, new and emerging computing hardware technologies aimed at SWAP-C constrained implementation of the state of the art sensor exploitation algorithms in real-time are also of interest.

AiTR/AiTD for ground vehicles is ultimately desired to work on sensors for both static and on-the-move vehicles in real-time in diverse environments. The desired product must be able to be fully integrated with EOIR sensors on manned and unmanned military ground vehicles (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), Bradley, Abrams, Stryker, MRAP, NGCV, etc.) while observing their specific space constraints and operational environments.

The following is a short list indicative of the possible capabilities that may be of interest for both narrow field of view (FOV) targeting sensors as well as wide FOV search and/or situational awareness sensors.

– Automated search and detection for military targets of interest. This includes, but is not limited to, vehicles, personnel, weapons systems, and UAS that may be fully exposed or partially obscured.

– Automated recognition or classification of targets to include military versus civilian vehicles, weapon/no weapon discrimination, and facial recognition.

– Automated multi-target tracking.

– Algorithms that provide enhanced discrimination, tracking, and other advanced capabilities in dense urban settings.

– Algorithms compatible with high definition uncooled IR sensors used for 360˚ situational awareness.

– Algorithms compatible with existing fielded Second Generation (2GF) FLIR sensors.

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– Algorithms that leverage multi-spectral sensors, such as Third Generation (3GEN) FLIR.

– Collaborative AiTD/AiTR, between ground vehicle sensors or ground vehicle sensors and small UAS.

– EOIR data sets including ground-to-ground militarily relevant targets, as well as solutions to collect and/or generate relevant imagery with groundtruth or labels for training

Sensor Oriented Requirements

Next generation IR cameras have large formats such as 1280 × 960, 1920 × 1200, and 2K × 2K with typical frame rates at 30 Hz to 60 Hz. EO cameras are available in even higher pixel formats and frame rates. Multi-spectral sensors such as 3GEN FLIR are also becoming available.

While the objective is to ultimately develop technology that can work day/night on infrared sensors, responses that have focused on visible sensor development are acceptable to show development status. Responses that exploit multi-spectral sensors are encouraged as well. AiTR and AiTD capabilities are desired on both narrow FOV targeting sensors as well as wide FOV search and/or situational awareness sensors.

The intent of this RFI is to identify an ecosystem of algorithms, exploitation capabilities, and machine vision approaches that can be leveraged (within reason) with a wide variety of sensor types including but not limited to EO and IR sensors of different spatial, temporal, spectral, and radiometric resolutions.

Computing Hardware Oriented Requirements

While the primary emphasis of this RFI is on algorithms, software implementation and architectures to enable real-time AiTR/AiTD capabilities, it is also important to understand the ecosystem of the computing hardware on which these capabilities may be hosted.

In that spirit, submission on new and evolving computing hardware architectures for efficient, low Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWAP-C) computing is encouraged. Submission on specific embedded, FPGA or ASIC implementation of well-defined visual processing and exploitation capabilities or tools that can be embedded in a larger system level solution are also encouraged.

Although the primary purpose of this hardware is to execute AiTD/AiTR software, this hardware may interact with related on- and off-platform systems. As such, technologies that support low-latency distribution of real-time sensor video from high bandwidth EO/IR sensors to multiple consumers (human or machine) are of interest. Approaches that enable rapid real-time prototyping, adaptation, and implementation of algorithm approaches are also of interest.

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Operational and Environmental Requirements

AiTR/AiTD algorithms will be required to be effective in a broad array of environmental conditions on ground vehicle platforms of various sizes and configurations. The following list highlights some operational and environmental considerations for algorithm performance:

– Broad array of rural and urban environments with varying degrees of natural and man-made clutter

– Static or moving targets, partially obscured targets

– Targets over a broad range of operationally relevant ranges, i.e., close to the vehicle and at significant standoff

– Real-time operation with both static and on-the-move platforms

-Tracking persistence for slewable sensors

References and Resources also include:

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a552773.pdf

https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ce54f362da7d7c11a36e21761e9f94f6&tab=core&_cview=0

FAQs

How does the US military use artificial intelligence? ›

The U.S. military has also experimented with putting deep-learning AI into flight simulators, and the algorithms have shown they can match the skills of veteran human pilots in grueling dogfights. The United States says AI pilots will only be used as “wingmen” to real humans when they're ready to be deployed.

What is the future of artificial intelligence in the Army? ›

The future of AI in military systems is directly tied to the ability of engineers to design autonomous systems that demonstrate independent capacity for knowledge- and expert-based reasoning as illustrated in Figure 2. There are no such autonomous systems currently in operation.

When did the military start using AI? ›

1991: The U.S. military uses the DARPA-funded Dynamic Analysis and Replanning Tool (DART), an AI program, to schedule the transportation of supplies or personnel and to solve other logistical problems.

Why is AI good for the military? ›

Artificial intelligence could help enhance multi-layer capabilities of military forces in handling a spectrum of undefined war situations or hostile environments. Artificial intelligence enables rapid decision-making capabilities in a dynamic information dense environment as well as in information sparse situations.

Can AI be used as a weapon? ›

AI-based warfare might seem like a video game, but last September, according to Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, the U.S. Air Force, for the first time, used AI to help to identify a target or targets in “a live operational kill chain.” Presumably, this means AI was used to identify and kill human targets.

Why AI should not be used in military? ›

The concern is so high that the Human Rights Watch has urged for the prohibition of fully autonomous AI units capable of making lethal decisions, calling for a ban very much like those in place for mines and chemical and biological weapons. Another main concern is that a machine can be hacked in ways a human cannot.

What are the pros and cons of the advancements being made in artificial intelligence? ›

This is one of the biggest advantages of Artificial intelligence. We can overcome many risky limitations of humans by developing an AI Robot which in turn can do the risky things for us.
...
  • High Costs of Creation: ...
  • Making Humans Lazy: ...
  • Unemployment: ...
  • No Emotions: ...
  • Lacking Out of Box Thinking:

How does artificial intelligence influence conflict? ›

Proponents argue that LAWS can boost a military's strength, creating stronger deterrents that prevent conflict. And if war does break out, advocates maintain that AI can make fighting more efficient and targeted, removing human error and limiting loss of life.

Does the US military use robots? ›

The latest military robots at U.S. 2021 | Boston Dynamics News - YouTube

What types of robots are used in the military? ›

UAVs, UGVs, USVs, ROVs, AUVs, and others are extensively used in the ISR application. Small UAVs are used in the military sector mainly to provide battlefield intelligence. Currently, armed forces worldwide no longer rely on human scouts and instead use small robots, which can remain almost invisible to the enemy.

Can AI stop war? ›

To date, there are no publicly acknowledged examples of AI being used to advise on or resolve conflicts between opposing nations or parties. However, research is underway and laying the groundwork for real-world applications.

Does America have autonomous weapons? ›

Renewing America

Since the directive was introduced, no autonomous system has been developed or proposed to the Department that fell under the purview of the directive.

Do killer robots exist? ›

Killer robots do not yet exist, but precursors clearly show the trend of increasing autonomy. Examples include the Harpy, a loitering munition that searches and attacks enemy radars, as well as the SGR-1 an armed robot on the border between North- and South-Korea.

Is artificial intelligence a threat to humans? ›

AI applications that are in physical contact with humans or integrated into the human body could pose safety risks as they may be poorly designed, misused or hacked. Poorly regulated use of AI in weapons could lead to loss of human control over dangerous weapons.

Will future wars be fought with robots? ›

Not very likely, at least not in the foreseeable future. Despite major advances in robotic technology in recent years, there are still some tasks robots are not well suited for. It's far more likely that robots will work alongside human soldiers and provide support by taking over some of the more dangerous tasks.

Will soldiers be replaced by robots? ›

Automation doesn't mean soldiers will be replaced by machines, but it could mean they'll be working alongside them in future conflicts, the Army's chief of staff said Tuesday. Defense budgets in the future are going to be pretty much flat, Gen. James McConville said during a talk at the Atlantic Council.

Is AI in the military ethical? ›

In February 2020, the Defense Department formally adopted five principles of artificial intelligence ethics as a framework to design, develop, deploy and use AI in the military. To summarize, the department stated that AI will be responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable and governable.

Why are military robots unethical? ›

A variety of arguments against the use of robots have been made, but two predominate. One argument is that the use of robot soldiers will cheapen the cost of war, making future wars more likely. In most conflicts, human causalities generate political pressure, which influences leaders to end the war.

What are the positive impacts of Artificial Intelligence? ›

Artificial intelligence can dramatically improve the efficiencies of our workplaces and can augment the work humans can do. When AI takes over repetitive or dangerous tasks, it frees up the human workforce to do work they are better equipped for—tasks that involve creativity and empathy among others.

What are advantages of Artificial Intelligence? ›

What are the advantages of Artificial Intelligence?
  • AI drives down the time taken to perform a task. ...
  • AI enables the execution of hitherto complex tasks without significant cost outlays.
  • AI operates 24x7 without interruption or breaks and has no downtime.
  • AI augments the capabilities of differently abled individuals.

What is the impact of Artificial Intelligence on our life? ›

Artificial Intelligence makes our lives more efficient every day AI powers many programs and services that help us do everyday things such as connecting with friends, using an email program, or using a ride-share service.

Why artificial intelligence is the future? ›

Artificial Intelligence Future

Artificial intelligence is shaping the future of humanity across nearly every industry. It is already the main driver of emerging technologies like big data, robotics and IoT, and it will continue to act as a technological innovator for the foreseeable future.

What areas of military activity are most susceptible to automation? ›

Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains – air, land and sea – make use of automation.

Which country has robotic army? ›

China is racing ahead in the global robotics and military technology race. To this end, the country has unveiled its newest heavy-duty military robot.

Does China have a robot army? ›

China has introduced what it claims to be the world's largest electrically-powered quadruped robot to assist the military on logistics and reconnaissance missions.

Who invented military robots? ›

The first real advances in what we now call “military robotics” started with Nikola Tesla (1856–1943), the pioneer electrical engineer and rival of Thomas Edison. In 1898 Tesla demonstrated a radio-controlled motorboat to a government representative, suggesting the potential military application of his technology.

How much does a military robot cost? ›

Less noticed are ground robots, but they're a growing part of the war effort. The military has bought more than 6,000 of them since 2003 at an average cost of $100,000 to $200,000 each.

What is the future of military robots? ›

Future robotic technology that's currently in development also includes gear solutions to lighten the equipment loads of soldiers. These robot prototypes would act as pack-mules for soldiers--traveling alongside them among even the most rugged of terrain allowing for more speed and mobility.

Why is the military using robots? ›

They're often intended to enhance a soldier's existing capabilities while keeping them out of harm's way as much as possible. Defense robots contribute to military superiority by giving troops an advantage at the ground level. Militaries as a whole gain a tactical advantage through the use of defense robots.

Do military drones use AI? ›

' ” says Brandon Tseng, a former Navy SEAL who is cofounder and chief growth officer of U.S.-based Shield AI, a maker of small reconnaissance drones that use A.I. for navigation and image analysis.

Why artificial intelligence is important in war? ›

Artificial intelligence has the potential to change the conduct of war. Recent excitement about AI is driven by advances in the ability to infer predictions from data. Yet this does not necessarily mean that machines can replace human decisionmakers.

Why AI should not be used in military? ›

The concern is so high that the Human Rights Watch has urged for the prohibition of fully autonomous AI units capable of making lethal decisions, calling for a ban very much like those in place for mines and chemical and biological weapons. Another main concern is that a machine can be hacked in ways a human cannot.

What applications does the military use? ›

Army-technology lists ten of the best military apps based on utility and features.
  • Tactical NAV. ...
  • MilGPS. ...
  • Avenza Maps Pro. ...
  • iSurvive. ...
  • Army First Aid. ...
  • Army Ranger Handbook. ...
  • ATAK. ...
  • Army OneSource Services Locator.
Jun 18, 2019

Does America have autonomous weapons? ›

Renewing America

Since the directive was introduced, no autonomous system has been developed or proposed to the Department that fell under the purview of the directive.

Does the US military use robots? ›

The latest military robots at U.S. 2021 | Boston Dynamics News - YouTube

Do Killer drones exist? ›

Dubbed kamikaze, suicide or killer drones, these unmanned aircraft don't fire missiles — they are the missiles. But unlike typical missiles, they can circle above a target, wait for the ideal moment and strike with incredible precision.

What are the disadvantages of military robots? ›

Military robots can traverse hazardous environments that are otherwise fatal to humans.
...
Disadvantages:
  • Military robots can be hacked and turned against their original users.
  • Governments can find ways to make military robots a tool of oppression.

Are there robotic soldiers? ›

The majority of military robots are tele-operated and not equipped with weapons; they are used for reconnaissance, surveillance, sniper detection, neutralizing explosive devices, etc. Current robots that are equipped with weapons are tele-operated so they are not capable of taking lives autonomously.

Can AI stop war? ›

To date, there are no publicly acknowledged examples of AI being used to advise on or resolve conflicts between opposing nations or parties. However, research is underway and laying the groundwork for real-world applications.

Will soldiers be replaced by robots? ›

Automation doesn't mean soldiers will be replaced by machines, but it could mean they'll be working alongside them in future conflicts, the Army's chief of staff said Tuesday. Defense budgets in the future are going to be pretty much flat, Gen. James McConville said during a talk at the Atlantic Council.

Is AI in the military ethical? ›

In February 2020, the Defense Department formally adopted five principles of artificial intelligence ethics as a framework to design, develop, deploy and use AI in the military. To summarize, the department stated that AI will be responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable and governable.

Why are military robots unethical? ›

A variety of arguments against the use of robots have been made, but two predominate. One argument is that the use of robot soldiers will cheapen the cost of war, making future wars more likely. In most conflicts, human causalities generate political pressure, which influences leaders to end the war.

Is there a military dating app? ›

MDDate is a FREE unique dating app to provide military dating service for military singles and admirers in the world! Unlike other sites, members here start out with something in common, love for military people or military related. The common interest will help make dating easier and more effective.

How GIS is used in military? ›

Military forces use GIS in a variety of applications including cartography, intelligence, battle field management, terrain analysis, remote sensing, military installation management and monitoring of possible terrorist activity.

Can soldiers on deployment use WhatsApp? ›

Even if your military deployment agenda does not allow for daily chats or Skype conversations, a quick WhatsApp message or SMS can be enough to reassure and to help your children get a good night's sleep when mummy or daddy are thousands of miles away.

Videos

1. The US Military and Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority
(Hudson Institute)
2. Artificial Intelligence: The Next Level of Defense
(Navy League of the United States)
3. The future of U.S. defense strategy: A conversation with General Paul J. Selva
(Brookings Institution)
4. Artificial Intelligence in Military: How will AI, Deep Learning, and Robotics Change Military
(IntroBooks Education)
5. DSAIC Webinar: Optimizing Logistics Outcomes: The U.S. Navy’s Model-Based Product Support (MBPS)
(Defense Systems Information Analysis Center)
6. Chinese Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Technology and Trade
(Global Georgetown)

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