How to build an AI warship

By Paddy Smith
Always dreamed of building the warship of the future? Another eight contenders take their places in the government competition to do just that...

The government’s competition to design an artificially intelligent warship has just doled out £3 million to the next round of successful entrants.

Eight companies – CGI IT UK Ltd, Decision Lab, DIEM Analytics, Frazer Nash Consultancy, Montvieux Ltd, Nottingham Trent University, Rolls Royce and SeeByte Ltd – are splitting the pot.

The cash has been awarded to create the next generation of military technology, intended for service from 2030. The Intelligent Shipo competition is being run by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The first round of funding was awarded in January 2020. Nine companies split a £1 million pot then, with the second-round of funding using up the remainder of the original budget. It has not been confirmed that the competition won’t be extended with further funding.

AI included in the second round includes machinery management and mission planning, execution and analysis.

Julia Tagg, Dstl project technical authority said, “The Intelligent Ship project aims to demonstrate ways of bringing together multiple AI applications to make collective decisions, with and without human operator judgement.

Complex data environments

“We hope that the use of AI in the future will lead to timely, more informed and trusted decision-making and planning, within complex operating and data environments. With applications for the Royal Navy and more broadly across defence, we are very excited to see what these phase 2 projects might bring.”

Rachel Solomons, DASA Delivery Manager said, “DASA is focused on finding innovation to benefit the defence and security of the UK.

“Artificial Intelligence and human-machine teaming are such innovations, and by taking this competition to phase 2 we hope to help find solutions that could make a real difference to future decision making in defence.”


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