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Weapons

HUMAT study looks to improve human/machine interface

22 November 2019
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MBDA has revealed details of research into novel Human Machine Teaming (HUMAT) approaches applicable to future surface attack and air defence weapon and control systems. Source: MBDA

MBDA Missile Systems has revealed details of research into novel Human Machine Teaming (HUMAT) approaches applicable to future surface attack and air defence weapon and control systems.

Funded through the French/UK Materials and Components for Missiles Innovation and Technology Partnership (MCM ITP) programme, the HUMAT study has run between November 2017 and November 2019. The work has addressed decision-making across the full engagement chain (planning, preparation, detection, threat evaluation, engagement feasibility; weapon assignment, launch, engagement and damage/kill assessment). MBDA has led the study work together with the University of Birmingham and ProbaYes (a spin-off of INRIA and CNRS).

According to MBDA, the precept for HUMAT is the need to improve decision-making against the background of an increasingly complex operational environment replete with multiple layers of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. "With the amount of data to be analysed and prioritised, and the time critical nature of combat engagement, automation or autonomy must be implemented in the engagement chain," said the company. "However, authority needs to remain in the hands of the human at the heart of the system, who must be able to make informed decisions or recognise when interventions are needed."

The research team from MBDA, the University of Birmingham and ProbaYes have approached the topic from multiple angles: defining and assessing the role of the operator in future missile systems; exploring ethical, legal and technological constraints to robust engagement decision-making; and exploring the opportunities and potential offered by new technologies - notably artificial intelligence techniques - to address the problem space.

Following discussions with customer communities in both France and the UK, the HUMAT team derived 23 requirements from core human/machine attributes. In each case, the machine must provide a rationale for its decision-making to the operator, and must also enable a 'dialogue'.

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