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France considers integrating AI with software defined radios

France’s Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) is considering artificial intelligence (AI) technology to support the French Army’s mobile communications requirements.

According to Captain Guillaume Journaux, deputy head of the DGA’s Telecommunication Branch, commercial AI technology could be leveraged to improve French ground forces’ communications on-the-move.

At the Mobile Deployable Communications conference in Warsaw, Poland, on 31 January, Journaux said DGA has observed some initial project demonstrations in the civilian domain, where AI was used to support network routing.

Additional areas that could benefit from AI, he said, included antenna design, channel estimation, voice and data encoding, voice and data compression, and waveform design. Algorithms could also support network planning, resource allocation, quality of service, and communications security.

However, Cap Journaux warned that using AI in software defined radio (SDR) technology could also come with a series of implications regarding the size, weight, and power of handheld, manpack, and vehicle-mounted systems. These, he explained, could include greater power consumption requirements, the integration of larger or even additional microchip technologies and sensors on board SDRs, and increased data demands upon the radio.

Thales’ CONTACT SDR could soon benefit from AI algorithms to support network routing of communications. (Thales)

Thales’ CONTACT SDR could soon benefit from AI algorithms to support network routing of communications. (Thales)

“We are in the early stages of research and development, but efforts are closely linked to the [French Army’s] CONTACT [SDR] programme,” Cap Journaux told Jane’s . “This is part of a network routing item for the effort. But one of the difficulties is that you need data in [the] same format. If you have voice and data [communications], voice needs to be included over internet protocol [IP]. Most of the forces are not running IP-based solutions. So any future project will not be spread across the full forces.”

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