in Defence / Security

Dstl research considers AI for image search

Posted 14 November 2018 · Add Comment

Academics are Ďbreaking new frontiersí in the latest UK-US collaboration on fundamental research into man and machine, as Dstl invests £6 million over five years in projects which bring together world-leading scientists from top universities such as Oxford and Stanford to look at ground-breaking research for defence Ė very early innovations which could one day change how we interact with machines and artificial intelligence.

Above: CGI image of data and human-like robot.
Courtesy Dstl

The collaboration with the US Department of Defense and the Engineering and Physical Research Council is worth a total of £24 million for four projects – sharing the burden of funding, facilities and capabilities across the three organisations.

The latest study, under the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, or (MURI), addresses the problem of large data sets being expensive to collect, process and store. Having an understanding of how useful a set of data is before deciding to collect or process it could save time and money for counter-terrorist or military operations.

Experts have described the technology as being able to help security services find ‘a needle in a haystack'.

At a meeting of academics at Imperial College, London, Rene Vidal, from John Hopkins University in Maryland, said: "We are teaching the machine to answer the questions, and to interpret the answers. Take the London subway bombing. Who did it? Think about the videos of all London stations, who entered, who didn’t. Forensics specialists looked at that data for weeks, but a computer could pick out the important pieces of data.

"The computer could identify which video footage is important, and find the perpetrator. Hours and hours of video, data or text could be assessed in minutes, rather than weeks."

Paul Thomas, technical expert in Data Fusion, and the technical partner for the project from Dstl, said: "This research is fundamental, as it gives us the understanding of the real value of data for a decision. All too often the desire is to hoover up all data we can get without understanding how it helps. This creates processing, communication and storage bottlenecks. This project will enable us to, for the first time, make choices about what data is important. A bit like a spam filter for our sensors."

Other MURI projects include a plan to develop machines which can understand human needs and values, can interact with humans effectively, and can ‘see’ using cognitive reasoning. Another is looking at how humans can communicate with computers which could aid decision-making in stressful environments, like the battlefield.

Dstl’s Emerging Technology for Defence programme manager, Rob Baldock added: "Any emerging areas, we need to know and understand, so we can be an intelligent customer. Sometimes it’s not about exploitation, it’s about knowledge. MURIs are an excellent example of burden-sharing between the UK, the US and research councils. They offer value for money for Dstl. The return on investment is huge. If you don’t look after the day after tomorrow, you’ll never be ahead of the curve."

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and The Engineering and Physical Research Council EPSRC are jointly funding collaborative research projects with the US DOD under their Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI).

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Latest News

UK joins AIR Centre to develop space tech and tackle climate change

Researchers will benefit from new international partnerships with 15 countries as part of the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre, thanks to a new agreement signed yesterday.

UK and Sweden partner on future combat air

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt and her Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist sign a landmark agreement to partner on future combat air

Airbus to run MoDís land C4ISR test centre

Airbus has agreed a five-year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to manage test and reference services to support the delivery and assured release of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence,

DSA sees WIZZ Air launch Chisinau service

WIZZ Air today announced a new twice-weekly flight to Chisinau, Moldova taking off from Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) from 20th December.

UK and NASA to work on future Moon missions

The UK and US space agencies have signed a statement of intent, which paves the way for UK commercial satellite communication and navigation services to be used by future NASA missions to the Moon, which was announced in a speech from

EAN inflight broadband reaching full roll out

Developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom (DT) in partnership with leading European companies such as Thales, Nokia, Airbus, Cobham and EAD Aerospace, Europeís fastest aviation connectivity solution, the European Aviation

ODU 0201311219
See us at
SMI FAV BT1006141119VIDSE BT1605060320DSEI JP BT1605201119ADSS1000DBT1706171019SMI GMS BT1906071119SMI ActiveP BT1206121119