The modern navy is regularly working on updating its equipment, its outreach, its maneuverability. One of the ways in which it accomplishes these goals is through the employment of drones, autonomous machines fulfilling important defensive and militaristic tasks. AUV's, or autonomous underwater vehicles (sometimes alternatively known as unmanned underwater vehicles -- UUV's), comprise one department in which such drone tech is seeing action. According to Marine Insight, such aquatic automatons were being made as early as 1957. They can range in size anywhere from 0.91 meters (approximately 3 feet) to over 10 meters (over 32 feet) long.
"Killer robots" are taking over. Also known as autonomous weapons, these devices, once activated, can destroy targets without human intervention. The technology has been with us for years. In 1959, the US Navy started using the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, an autonomous defense device that can spot and attack anti-ship missiles, helicopters and similar threats. In 2014, Russia announced that killer robots would guard five of its ballistic missile installations.
Note: The below article includes excerpts from the September 2018 Health Affairs article "Implementing and Scaling Artificial Intelligence Solutions: Considerations for Policy Makers and Decision Makers." The full article can be accessed through the Health Affairs Journal, and was developed in partnership with Eric Just, MS, from Health Catalyst; and Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, FAOA RADM, MC, USN, Rear Admiral in the US Navy. The New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard Business Review, and other publications, noted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning can achieve breakthroughs in improving patient safety, health, and reducing waste. AI infers patterns, relationships, and rules directly from large volumes of data in ways that can exceed human cognitive capabilities. Today, opportunities for greater deployment of AI in health are made possible by increased electronic data availability from mobile devices, sensors, cameras, and electronic health records; faster data processing capabilities; and newly developed computing techniques.
When you get an invitation to visit an honest to goodness battleship, you take it. So when Autodesk reached out and asked if I wanted to witness the virtualization of the USS Iowa, a retired battleship berthed in San Pedro, CA, I braved LA traffic with visions of adventure on the high seas. The object of the endeavor was to create a point cloud of the USS Iowa's main battery turret for a forthcoming VR experience at the USS Iowa Museum. The ship's sixteen inch guns once sent 2,700 pound shells at targets as far as 24 miles away, and they're an obvious attraction for visitors. Unfortunately, the turrets are only accessible after navigating several daunting ladders and narrow hallways, so they remain off limits.
To illustrate how artificial intelligence (AI) could affect the future battlefield, consider the following scenario based on a future book I am writing entitled The Senkaku Paradox: Risking Great Power War over Limited Stakes. The scenario, imagined to occur sometime between now and 2040, begins with a hypothesized Russian "green men" attack against a small farming village in eastern Estonia or Latvia. Russia's presumed motive would be to sow discord and dissent within NATO, weakening the alliance. Estonia and Latvia are NATO member states, and thus the United States is sworn to defend them. But in the event of such a Russian aggression, a huge, direct NATO response may or may not be wise.
Navies of the future could use technology to allow sailors to work remotely. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality would allow some crew members to work from shore, operating key sections of ships from thousands of miles away. The result could be semiautonomous warships that sail with smaller crews, putting fewer in harm's way. The Telegraph reports that the Royal Navy could use A.I. and VR tech in the future to reduce the size of ship's crews. The principle is similar to that used by unmanned aerial vehicle operators who control drones flying thousands of miles away.
The underwater ocean world is an ecosystem with lots of different sounds. So naval forces have traditionally relied on so-called "golden ears," or musicians and other individuals with particularly sharp hearing, to detect the specific signals coming from an enemy submarine. But given the overload of data today, distinguishing between false alarms and actual dangers has become more difficult. That's why "Thales is working on "Deep Learning" algorithms capable of recognizing the particular "song" of a submarine, much as the "Shazam" app helps you identify a song you hear on the radio", says Dominique Thubert, Thales Underwater Systems, which is specialized in sonar systems for submarines, surface warships, and aircraft. These algorithms, attached to submarines, surface ship or drones, will help naval forces sort through and classify information in order to detect attacks early on.
They were teenage computer geeks, bespectacled kids from Seattle who taught themselves programming from a Teletype terminal, learned the basics of business from Fortune magazine and dreamed of "a computer in every home and on every desk." Paul Allen was the self-described "idea man," the shy son of librarians. Bill Gates was the business-oriented partner who brought the ideas to life. And in 1975, when Mr. Allen was 22 and Gates was 19, the friends formed a company that became known as Microsoft and unleashed a personal-computer revolution that made both men fabulously wealthy. Mr. Allen left the company after only eight years, amid a bout with Hodgkin's disease and a deteriorating friendship with Gates.
High-tech tools, including an undersea "mountain goat," and years of research led to the discovery of the WWII-era Musashi in the Pacific. WATCH: Footage from an unmanned submersible shows wreckage of the World War II battleship. High-tech tools, including an undersea "mountain goat," and years of research led to the discovery of the WWII-era Musashi in the Pacific. WATCH: Footage from an unmanned submersible shows wreckage of the World War II battleship. After years of meticulous historical research and seafloor terrain analysis, it was an underwater "mountain goat" that ultimately found the wreck of one of history's most impressive battleships, the Musashi.
As technology advances relentlessly, the real prospect of robot wars is apparently almost upon us. The 2015 book Ghost Fleet, written by Peter Singer and August Cole, lays out a vision of a future war between China and the United States, and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in that hypothetical military conflict is not small. Drones of various types not only carry out surveillance in this novel but also play crucial roles in communications, logistics, as well as in high-intensity combat. In one memorable vignette, two American unmanned surface vehicles "following an algorithm developed from research done on the way sand tiger sharks cooperated in their hunting" successfully prosecute a Chinese nuclear submarine. Strategists familiar with the U.S. Navy's Sea Hunter program know that this ambition is not especially far-fetched.