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Rapid Advancements in AI Robotics for Dangerous Tasks

Summary

A group of 40 programmers recently showcased the capabilities of AI-powered robotic dogs in performing potentially hazardous tasks that are typically entrusted to military experts in bomb disposal. The demonstration took place at a Hackathon organized by the Defense AI […]

Rapid Advancements in AI Robotics for Dangerous Tasks

A group of 40 programmers recently showcased the capabilities of AI-powered robotic dogs in performing potentially hazardous tasks that are typically entrusted to military experts in bomb disposal. The demonstration took place at a Hackathon organized by the Defense AI Center (DAC) from November 7th to 9th.

The hackers worked in five teams to harness the abilities of AI robotic dogs that can climb stairs, navigate obstacles, and traverse uneven terrain. Over the first two days, the teams developed strategies and fine-tuned their programming before testing the dogs in an environment designed to simulate life-threatening obstacles.

On the final day, the teams showcased their achievements to members of the 29th Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search (EOD&S) group, who are leading British military experts in tactical and technical explosives. Representatives from the EOD&S, DAC, and DE&S judged the winners in five categories: teamwork, collaboration, innovation, practical application, and effort and focus.

The event was organized by the Defense AI Center in collaboration with the Expeditionary Robotics Center of Excellence (ERCoE, part of DE&S) and the Defense Information System (TDI) at the BattleLab in Dorset.

Commander Rachel Singleton RN, head of DAC, expressed her excitement, stating, “It was incredibly thrilling to see the military, industry, and academia come together to find AI and robotics solutions in a real-life scenario, especially one that aims to enhance the safety of our personnel. Initiating and leading this kind of collaboration under safe and responsible conditions is the most important part of our work at DAC.”

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Koulis from the 29th EOD&S group commented, “It was a pleasure to witness the talents and dedication put into creating a remote-controlled mine detection tool. Today, I saw several things that will undoubtedly facilitate research and development in the EOD&S field.”

Flight Lieutenant Paul Austin, from the DE&S Future Capabilities group, stated, “At DE&S, we are passionate about finding ways to leverage technology to give our armed forces the advantage. Part of that journey is working hand in hand with the military to improve. This event and the enthusiasm shown by participants to solve military-oriented problems is a wonderful testament to that.”

About DAC

The Defense AI Center was established as a result of the Integrated Review in 2021, with the aim of accelerating the military’s capabilities in utilizing AI while upholding our principles and values. DAC is a federated organization, coordinating between the Defense Digital Sector, the Equipment and Support Sector (DE&S), and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

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