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Artificial Intelligence Key to Unmanned Vehicle Growth

May 16, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Many of the challenges faced by unmanned vehicles can be solved with greater autonomy. However, that raises issues of its own, according to panelists at Joint Warfighting 2012. Today's unmanned aerial vehicle is more akin to a remotely piloted vehicle, said Col. Timothy P. Healy, USA, of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, TRADOC. He called for artificial intelligence (AI) for both vehicle operation and for its transmission of data. The colonel noted that AI is needed to streamline data so that whatever is not critical does not need to be sent back to headquarters. As unmanned vehicles proliferate, their stress on available bandwidth increases. Until true AI is achieved, planners will not be able to determine how unmanned aircraft can replace their manned counterparts, he continued. Dr. Norman Friedman, author of "Unmanned Air Combat Systems: A New Kind of Carrier Aviation," emphasized that unmanned vehicles never will be completely autonomous, as responsibility for them must be assigned. Col. Healy concurred, saying, "We always will have a human in the chain making some decisions."

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