Artificial intelligence research projects developing technologies to help warship crews cope with "information overload" will receive £1 million in funding, the Ministry of Defence has announced.
The aim is to transform the way Armed Forces crews and artificial intelligence (AI) programmes interact on warships, aircraft and land vehicles by the 2040s.
Nine projects will share the funds awarded through the Defence and Security Accelerator (Dasa)'s Intelligent Ship – The Next Generation competition.
It's part of an overall £4 million in funding which will be distributed across two phases.
Dasa, the Ministry of Defence's (MOD's) innovation hub, is further aiming to ensure the country's defence capabilities are able to respond to increasingly complex threats to national security.
Although titled Intelligent Ship, a warship is just the prototype demonstrator for this competition – the project will inform development relevant to all defence equipment and military services.
Julia Tagg, technical lead from Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), said:
"Crews are already facing information overload with thousands of sources of data, intelligence, and information.
"By harnessing automation, autonomy, machine learning and artificial intelligence with the real-life skill and experience of our men and women, we can revolutionise the way future fleets are put together and operate to keep the UK safe," Ms Tagg added.
Defence Minister James Heappey said: "The astonishing pace at which global threats are evolving requires new approaches and fresh thinking to the way we develop our ideas and technology.
"The funding will research pioneering projects into how AI and automation can support our Armed Forces in their essential day-to-day work."
Project proposals include systems that examine data to help speed up and improve commanders' decision making, analyse behavioural patterns to give recommendations or predictions in future operations and retain knowledge built up by past crew and ships.
Dasa delivery manager Adam Moore said:
"Dasa brings together the brightest minds in science, industry and academia to turbocharge innovations to keep the UK, as well as those who protect us, safe from emerging and evolving threats to our way of life.
"This project will ensure the Royal Navy and all our Armed Forces stays one step ahead of our adversaries."
Cover image: HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).