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Navy to organize maritime robot competition


As it was in the age of sail, so it is today: whoever controls the seas wields tremendous global power. But maritime strength may increasingly be measured not in manned warships and aircraft carriers but in fleets of autonomous seagoing robots. To that end, it's only fitting that the Naval Postgraduate School and the Office of Naval Research are joining forces again with Open Robotics, which oversees the open-source Robotic Operating System and the Gazebo robotics simulator, as well as Robonation, a STEM organization, to organize a simulated maritime competition in 2022. The main goal of the Virtual RobotX (VRX) competition is to provide a simulation framework to support maritime autonomy development, according to the organizers. It's worth keeping an eye on this competition as it quite literally is helping create the future of maritime warfare as well as probable commercial applications for robots on the water.

ONR at 75: Virtual Anniversary Event to Highlight Future of Naval Power


On Thursday, Sept. 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., senior naval and congressional leaders will participate in a special Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored virtual event to discuss "The Future of Warfare." Held in honor of ONR's 75th anniversary, the event is titled "ONR at 75: Reimagine Naval Power." It will feature remarks from the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday, and from the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, the Hon. A panel discussion will follow, featuring two members of the U.S. Congress-Rep. The panel, titled "The Future of Warfare," will be led by Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby.

Artificial Intelligence-Based Battle Management Training Rolled Out


The system, called Battle Management Training NEXT (BMTN), provides command and control battle management operators sustained, high quality, low cost training repetitions. "BMTN was developed in partnership with Vectrona, Breakaway Games and Sentrana to provide a host of first-ever combined artificial intelligence, machine learning, biometric, and natural language processing capabilities consolidated into one command and control training system," explained Lt. Col. Kip Trausch, Western Air Defense Sector chief innovation officer. "BMTN will be the fulcrum for the Battle Control Center to break the negative training feedback loop and enable consistent and meaningful wartime preparation." BMTN, which was also rolled-out to the Air National Guard Battle Control Center enterprise, solves the negative feedback loop generated from an ever-present and high operations tempo coupled with training that can only be conducted internally that results in a lack of time, instructors, and system resources to conduct comprehensive wartime readiness on pace with friendly capability and enemy threat evolution. "BMTN is a direct tactical-level answer to CSAF Brown's Accelerate Change or Lose and systems like this have the flexibility baked in to allow headquarters, commanders, and end-users to create the latest training content to drive familiarity, proficiency, and, potentially for the first time, fluency," Trausch said.

Royal Navy unveils concept images for ambitious autonomous fleet

Daily Mail - Science & tech

They may seem like something out of The Avengers film franchise, but these ambitious concepts of revolutionary warships are actually part of the Royal Navy's vision of what the British fleet could look like in the future. Detailed proposals for four potential vehicles, created by young engineers, have been released, including a stealth submarine carrier and a huge flying drone station which would be attached to a helium balloon and based in the stratosphere. The idea is that attack drones shaped like conventional airplanes could then be launched from the station'at a moment's notice' before shooting down towards Earth and potentially gliding just beneath the water in a stealth mode and smashing into an enemy ship. The Royal Navy hasn't disclosed anticipated costs of bringing to life the newly-revealed concepts, which have been described as one expert involved in British defence and security operations as very much'in the realm of speculative thinking'. They have been put forward by young engineers from industry and academia as part of a challenge posed by the UK Naval Engineering Science and Technology (UKNEST), aimed at helping the Royal Navy to develop ideas for an autonomous fleet that could shape how it operates over the next 50 years.

Research on beards, wads of gum wins 2021 Ig Nobel prizes

Boston Herald

Beards aren't just cool and trendy -- they might also be an evolutionary development to help protect a man's delicate facial bones from a punch to the face. That's the conclusion of a trio of scientists from the University of Utah who are among the winners of this year's Ig Nobel prizes, the Nobel Prize spoofs that honor -- or maybe dishonor, depending on your point of view -- strange scientific discoveries. The winners of the 31st annual Ig Nobels being announced Thursday included researchers who figured out how to better control cockroaches on U.S. Navy submarines; animal scientists who looked at whether it's safer to transport an airborne rhinoceros upside-down; and a team that figured out just how disgusting that discarded gum stuck to your shoe is. For the second year in a row, the ceremony was a roughly 90-minute prerecorded digital event because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, said Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research magazine, the event's primary sponsor. While disappointing in many ways because half the fun of a live ceremony is the rowdy audience participation, the ceremony retained many in-person traditions.

Rigging For AI: How The US Navy Embraces Digital And Masters AI With Brett Vaughan, Chief AI Officer And AI Portfolio Manager At The Office Of Naval Research


Artificial intelligence is proving essential to enhancing and accelerating modern military forces and the US Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) is seeing the advantage AI can provide to maintain dominance over increasingly capable adversaries. In 2019 Brett Vaughan became the Navy Chief AI Officer and AI Portfolio Manager at the Office of Naval Research to further take advantage of the strategic value AI can provide. Brett has 30 years of Defense Intelligence and Technology expertise with strengths in military support, strategic communications, GEOINT, Naval Intelligence and Navy R&D allowing him to bring his diverse background to this role to help shape the Navy's current and future plans for AI use, as well as AI development and adoption. The potential of AI is almost infinite, since anything involving data and information has the potential for AI applications. However, the US Navy has limited resources, and pursuing every possible path of AI development is not a viable option.

US, UK and Israel blame Iran for attack on Israeli-managed tanker

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The United States has joined the United Kingdom and Israel in accusing Iran of carrying out a deadly drone strike that killed two aboard a tanker off Oman. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement in a statement Sunday. Blinken said: "Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive (drones), a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region." He added that there was "no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behavior."

Israel blames Iran for lethal attack on Japanese-owned oil tanker off Oman

The Japan Times

Jerusalem – Two crew members of an oil tanker managed by a prominent Israeli businessman's company were killed off Oman in what appears to be a drone attack, the vessel's London-based operator and the U.S. military said Friday, with Israel blaming Iran. Tehran is "sowing violence and destruction," an Israeli official said. The Islamic Republic "is not only Israel's problem, but it is the world's problem. Its behavior threatens the freedom of navigation and global commerce," the official added. U.S. Navy forces came to the aid of the crew in response to an emergency distress call and saw evidence of the attack, said an American military statement.

AI system could help protect health of US Navy divers


Researchers in the US have received funding to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can help protect divers from waterborne bacteria, …

Undersea Drones are Taking Navy Submarines to the Next Level


Here's What You Need to Remember: From a tactical circumstance, given that attack submarines and nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines are likely to conduct large amounts of clandestine patrols, it seems as though an ability to avoid having to surface would bring an extraordinary operational advantage. Could newer kinds of AI-enabled undersea drone data processing and analysis introduce new breakthrough possibilities when it comes to solving the longstanding challenge of achieving high-speed, real-time connectivity? Submarine commanders and weapons developers explain that UUV undersea functionality is dependent upon limited battery power and would therefore be further enabled by an ability to "process the data at the source of the sensor" to distinguish and transmit only the most critical information needed by human decision-makers. "That's the concept, how do you get all of that information back to a human to analyze. Maybe you don't want to do that? Maybe you want to allow the UUV to do some initial analysis and make some modifications to its behavior autonomously?"