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Fighter aircraft will soon get AI pilots

#artificialintelligence

CLASSIC DOGFIGHTS, in which two pilots match wits and machines to shoot down their opponent with well-aimed gunfire, are a thing of the past. Guided missiles have seen to that, and the last recorded instance of such duelling was 32 years ago, near the end of the Iran-Iraq war, when an Iranian F-4 Phantom took out an Iraqi Su-22 with its 20mm cannon. But memory lingers, and dogfighting, even of the simulated sort in which the laws of physics are substituted by equations running inside a computer, is reckoned a good test of the aptitude of a pilot in training. And that is also true when the pilot in question is, itself, a computer program. So, when America's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an adventurous arm of the Pentagon, considered the future of air-to-air combat and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) within that future, it began with basics that Manfred von Richthofen himself might have approved of.


Fighter aircraft will soon get AI pilots

#artificialintelligence

CLASSIC DOGFIGHTS, in which two pilots match wits and machines to shoot down their opponent with well-aimed gunfire, are a thing of the past. Guided missiles have seen to that, and the last recorded instance of such combat was 32 years ago, near the end of the Iran-Iraq war, when an Iranian F-4 Phantom took out an Iraqi Su-22 with its 20mm cannon. But memory lingers, and dogfighting, even of the simulated sort in which the laws of physics are substituted by equations running inside a computer, is reckoned a good test of the aptitude of a pilot in training. And that is also true when the pilot in question is, itself, a computer program. So, when America's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an adventurous arm of the Pentagon, considered the future of air-to-air combat and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) within that future, it began with basics that Manfred von Richthofen himself might have approved of.


3 firms, NMSU chosen for Hyperspace Challenge

#artificialintelligence

Three Albuquerque-based companies and New Mexico State University will compete alongside nine out-of-state entities for $50,000 in cash prizes in this year's Hyperspace Challenge. Organizers of the challenge, now in its third year, selected a total of 11 companies and two universities to participate in the 2020 accelerator program, which will focus on developing new, innovative technology to help the U.S. Space Force provide satellites and spacecraft with remote, autonomous ability to manage problems. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base launched the annual challenge in 2018 in partnership with the ABQid business accelerator run by CNM Ingenuity. The program pairs participating companies with government contractors to resolve critical issues, potentially leading to contracts to build new technology for the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal entities. The last two accelerators in 2018 and 2019 focused, respectively, on data analytics to manage reams of information received from space operations, and new technologies for small satellites.


FAU Awarded U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant for AI

#artificialintelligence

Dimitris A. Pados, Ph.D., principal investigator, a professor in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a fellow of FAU's Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), the Charles E. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in Engineering and Computer Science, and director of the Center for Connected Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence. Ensuring data quality is critical for artificial intelligence (AI) machines to learn effectively and operate efficiently and safely. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science have received a three-year, $653,393 grant from the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) for a project titled, "Data Analytics and Data Conformity Evaluation with L1-norm Principal Components." For the project, researchers will develop new theory and methods to curate training data sets for AI learning and screen real-time operational data for AI field deployment. The project team is spearheaded by Dimitris A. Pados, Ph.D., principal investigator, a professor in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a fellow of FAU's Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), the Charles E. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in Engineering and Computer Science, and director of the Center for Connected Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence (ca-ai.fau.edu)


Dexterous robots are coming to the US Air Force – CalvinAyre.com – IAM Network

#artificialintelligence

A "mechanized infantry division" in the military may take on an entirely different meaning in the future. The idea of enhanced technology being integrated into body armor to produce super soldiers is not a new concept, but a new project launched by the U.S. Air Force could take things to a whole new level. The military branch has given a contract to a robotics firm specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and which is designed to lead to the introduction of "dexterous robotic systems." Sarcos Defense, a subsidiary of Sarcos Robotics, was awarded the contract. The parent company is dedicated to the development of advanced robotics and electro-mechanical systems.


Japan considered drone fighters under ex-defense chief Taro Kono

The Japan Times

The introduction of unmanned fighter jets has been considered to succeed the Air Self-Defense Force's aging F-2s, which are expected to start being retired within two decades, as part of efforts to reduce development costs, according to government officials. The proposal was made earlier this year by Taro Kono, who was defense chief until last month before he became administrative reform minister in new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said discussions in the Defense Ministry were, however, suspended in the wake of the government's decision in June to scrap its plan to deploy the U.S.-developed Aegis Ashore land-based defense system, designed to counter missile threats from North Korea. Japan plans to start work on a new fighter jet in fiscal 2024 together with U.S. or British companies, and aims to introduce it in fiscal 2035 when the current F-2s are scheduled to start being retired. The ministry estimates that at least ¥1.2 trillion is needed to develop a manned fighter jet, while a drone -- which has no space for a pilot and requires no safety equipment -- costs much less to build.


DOD must prioritize quality data collection to train AI, officials say - FedScoop

#artificialintelligence

Collecting and generating quality data sets to train artificial intelligence models needs to be a priority for the department, with some officials arguing it should be a requirement in contracts moving forward. By being proactive about collecting and generating data, the future of AI can be built on quality inputs, Michael Kanaan, director of operations at the Air Force's AI Accelerator at MIT, said Tuesday during the AFCEA DCAI and ML Technology Summit. Other technology officials endorsed the idea of being more aggressive about data collection rather than being "opportunistic" or working on old, lower quality data sets. For instance, the Air Force used quality data to train a machine learning model that turned the boards that officials use to manually track flight times into an automated, intelligent system. The ML system that replaced the "puck boards" ensured pilots got enough hours to maintain mission readiness.


The National Guard's Fire-Mapping Drones Get an AI Upgrade

WIRED

More than 3 million acres of California have burned this year, and 18,000 firefighters are still battling 27 major wildfires across the sooty state sometimes called golden. And every day, high above the smoke, a military drone with a wingspan roughly 10 times that of LeBron James feeds infrared video of the flames back to March Air Reserve Base, east of Los Angeles, to help map the destruction and assist firefighters. These MQ-9 "Reaper" drones don't usually fly domestic--they're on standby in case the Air Force needs them for overseas reconnaissance. But climate change has helped make crisscrossing California gathering video a new fall tradition for the 163rd Attack Wing. Its drones have helped map wildfires every year since 2017, thanks to special permission from the secretary of defense.


Air Force Betting on New Robotic Wingman

#artificialintelligence

The next year will be pivotal for the Air Force's effort to acquire a new class of autonomous drones, as industry teams compete for a chance to build a fleet of robotic wingmen that will soon undergo operational experimentation. The "Skyborg" program is one of the service's top science-and-technology priorities under the "Vanguard" initiative to deliver game-changing capabilities to its warfighters. The aim is to acquire relatively inexpensive, attritable unmanned aircraft that can leverage artificial intelligence and accompany manned fighter jets into battle. "I expect that we will do sorties where a set number are expected to fly with the manned systems, and we'll have crazy new [concepts of operation] for how they'll be used," Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper said during an online event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. The platforms might even be called upon to conduct kamikaze missions.


Robot dogs join US Air Force for major exercise, could be 'key to next-gen warfare'

#artificialintelligence

New Delhi: In a bid to increase use of artificial intelligence in the military, the US Air force conducted a major exercise with robot dogs trained to scout for threats before their human counterparts enter the field. The four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at the Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada last week. They are part of an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) that the US Air force is building, which will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to detect counter threats to the US military. "Valuing data as an essential war fighting resource, one no less vital than jet fuel or satellites, is the key to next-gen warfare," Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told CNN. The dogs have been manufactured by Ghost Robotics, a company based in Philadelphia, and are called Vision 60 UGVs, or "autonomous unmanned ground vehicles".