British Battlefield AI Put To Test In Canadian Experiment

The technology uses sensors to detect hidden enemies.

Soldiers trialling SAPIENT technology (Picture: MoD).

UK-made Artificial Intelligence that scans battlefields to detect hidden enemies has been successfully trialled.

The technology is known as SAPIENT (Sensors for Asset Protection using Integrated Electronic Network Technology) flagged dangers to Canadian soldiers as sensors analysed a mock urban battlefield on the streets of Montreal, the Ministry of Defence said.

Aircraft flying at 12,00ft above Montreal sent AI-refined information back to human operators below.

Sensors identified cars and trucks and could spot vehicles which are acting suspiciously, according to the MoD.

The MoD added the technology reduces human error and frees up other soldiers who currently man CCTV-type feeds to monitor enemy movement.

SAPIENT has taken four years to develop by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and in its earlier stages, Innovate UK.

Soldiers trialling SAPIENT technology (Picture: MoD).
The technology was tested in Contested Urban Environment experiments in Montreal (Picture: MoD).

The system was tested alongside a range of experimental military technology created by other nations including robotic exoskeleton suits to help soldiers with the burden of heavy loads, night vision and surveillance systems.

British troops are expected to test the technology in the future.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: “This British system can act as autonomous eyes in the urban battlefield. 

"This technology can scan streets for enemy movements so troops can be ready for combat with quicker, more reliable information on attackers hiding around the corner.

"Investing millions in advanced technology like this will give us the edge in future battles.

"It also puts us in a really strong position to benefit from similar projects run by our allies as we all strive for a more secure world."

The three-week trial was the latest in the series of Contested Urban Environment experiments by soldiers from the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. 

The UK is set to host a similar exercise in 2020, the MoD said.

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