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AI tech projects get funding to help warship crews tackle ‘information overload’

Nine projects will share the money.

Nine projects will share the money awarded through the Defence and Security Accelerator (Dasa)’s Intelligent Ship – The Next Generation competition.

The competition, backed overall by £4 million over two phases, aims to improve how human crews and artificial intelligence (AI) programs interact on warships, aircraft and land vehicles from 2040.

Dasa, the Ministry of Defence (MoD)’s innovation hub, is looking at how to exploit technological advances in automation, autonomy, machine learning and AI to ensure the country’s defence capabilities are able to respond to increasingly complex threats to national security.

Work under the prototype demonstrator Intelligent Ship competition has the potential to inform the design and operation of equipment across all of the armed forces, the MoD said.

The astonishing pace at which global threats are evolving requires new approaches and fresh thinking to the way we develop our ideas and technology. The funding will research pioneering projects into how AI and automation can support our armed forces in their essential day-to-day work.

James Heappey Defence minister

The nine projects to share the initial £1 million funding include Daden Ltd, Nottingham Trent University, Roke Manor Research Ltd, GE Energy Power Conversion UK Ltd and Affect In Ltd.

Also sharing the money are Montvieux Limited, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, decisionLab and Thales UK Ltd.

Project proposals include systems that examine data to help speed up and improve commanders’ decision making, analyse behavioural patterns to give recommendations or predictions in future operations and retain knowledge built up by past crew and ships.

Dasa works with academia and scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), an executive agency of the MoD, to find and fund technologies to boost the country’s armed forces.

This Dasa competition has the potential to lead the transformation of our defence platforms, leading to a sea change in the relationships between AI and human teams. This will ensure UK defence remains an effective, capable force for good in a rapidly changing technological landscape. Crews are already facing information overload with thousands of sources of data, intelligence, and information. By harnessing automation, autonomy, machine learning and artificial intelligence with the real-life skill and experience of our men and women, we can revolutionise the way future fleets are put together and operate to keep the UK safe.

Julia Tagg Dstl AI Lab
Dasa delivery manager Adam Moore said: “Dasa brings together the brightest minds in science, industry and academia to turbocharge innovations to keep the UK, as well as those who protect us, safe from emerging and evolving threats to our way of life. This project will ensure the Royal Navy and all our Armed Forces stays one step ahead of our adversaries.”


It’s great to see ‘The Next Generation competition’ is improving how crews and AI can work together on warships, aircraft and land vehicles by 2040. The research that goes into developing technologies to boost the country’s Armed forces, could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit scheme. If your company is working on similar projects you too could be eligible for the scheme.

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