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Air Platforms

AI technology leveraged for C-UAV system

03 August 2016
The UAVX system employs electro-optical/infrared cameras and radar to detect and track targets. Source: Black Sage Technologies

Black Sage Technologies is employing artificial intelligence (AI) as part of a counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) system.

The company's UAVX is designed to detect, identify and track UAVs through the use of a number of different technologies, including a Doppler radar, and daylight and infrared cameras. The AI aspect comes through an Artificial Neural Network, which is deployed for automatic target classification.

Dave Romero - founder of Black Sage Technologies - told IHS Jane's that the company has secured a number of military customers, but declined to provide further details. However, he said the company hosts demos of the system for potential buyers every month, "and the grand majority of these customers are either military or they are private companies who are already working with military or government agencies that care about this problem.

"When we look at this, we consider where can we be most effective, and that comes down to who's experiencing the most pain. Right now it's military, and in certain parts of the world, [UAVs] are already being used as weapons. It's not just espionage, it's not just the risk of recreational pilots flying in the wrong places, and it's not just fear. It's that they are being used as flying IEDs [improvised explosive devices]."

The individual components of UAVX are already being used in theatre by various militaries, Romero said, with the radars and camera systems in service with the US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The use of AI is intended to defeat a "boy who cried wolf problem with false alarms", Romero said. This stems from the use of what Romero termed "deterministic systems" that work on a binary level. For example, a simple motion detector is binary, and does not account for the nature of the motion - whether it is a bird, a UAV, or tumbleweed.

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