Fear responses and situational awareness boost AI’s involvement with military intelligence

Artificial intelligence  may begin to play a key role in future Royal Navy operations, thanks to Roke Manor Research (Roke).

Thanks to a million pound investment, Roke will become the first supplier to integrate artificial intelligence into a Defence Science and Technology sponsored maritime combat system demonstrator, aptly named STARTLE.

Inspired by the human brain, STARTLE boasts situational awareness capabilities which allow the machine to monitor and evaluate potential threats using a range of various artificial intelligence techniques. It also features mammalian-conditioned fear response mechanisms using software that mimics human situational awareness in complex environments.

Once integrated into existing warship sensor suites, STARTLE would be able to support the Principal Warfare Officer in processing multiple sources of information, all while assessing and confirming potential threats.

Mike Hook, lead software architect on STARTLE at Roke, said: ‘This is an exciting project for us. Traditional methods of processing data can be inefficient so we have looked at the human brain’s tried and tested means of detecting and assessing threats to help us design a better way to do it. The techniques have the potential to benefit the Royal Navy.

‘The first two phases of the project have proven that we’ve been able to successfully apply these techniques to real data from complex scenarios. The clever part comes in the way these potential threats are detected and the way our software redistributes resources to decide if they are real – all in the blink of an eye.’

David Cole, Managing Director for Roke added: ‘The project draws upon every element of Roke’s 60 years of experience in sensors, data science, communications and cyber security. Innovations such as these build real momentum for our clients, enabling the pull through of research into operational capability.’

As well as playing crucial roles in future maritime operations, STARTLE can also be adapted for use in autonomous vehicles, computer network defenses and health and usage monitoring systems.