Britain uses Artificial Intelligence on Army operations for the first time
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British Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced on its official website that soldiers from the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade used an AI engine that provides information on the surrounding environment and terrain.
The Army’s Director of Information, Major General Jonathan Cole, said:
The deployment was a first of its kind for the Army. It built on close collaboration between the MOD and industry partners that developed AI specifically designed for the way the Army is trained to operate.
The lessons this has provided are considerable, not just in terms of our support to deployed forces, but more broadly in how we inform Defence’s digital transformation agenda and the best practices we must adapt to integrate and exploit leading-edge technologies.
Announced by the Prime Minister last November, Defence has received an increase in funding of over £24 billion across the next four years, focusing on the ability to adapt to meet future threats. Further outlined in the Defence Command Paper, the MOD intends to invest £6.6billion over the next four years in defence research and development, focusing on emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, AI-enabled autonomous systems, cyber, space and directed energy systems.
20th Armoured Infantry Brigade and user of the AI, Major James Mcevoy, said: The kit was shown to outperform our expectations and has clear applications for improving our level of analysis and speed at which we conduct our planning. I’m greatly looking forward to further opportunities to work with this.
In future, the UK armed forces will increasingly use AI to predict adversaries’ behaviour, perform reconnaissance and relay real-time intelligence from the battlefield.
During the annual large-scale NATO exercise, soldiers from France, Denmark, Belgium, Estonia and the UK used the technology whilst carrying out live-fire drills.
Artificial Intelligence has already been incorporated in some key military initiatives, including the Future Combat Air System. It is the focus of several innovative funding programmes through the Defence and Security Accelerator.