The movies have depicted it for decades, with C3PO and R2D2 ably assisting Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” saga.
Reality isn’t quite to that point, but the U.S. government is integrating artificial intelligence in the infantry in ways no “nation in the world has demonstrated to date,” reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
That’s according to Lt. Col. Phil Root, the program manager for what is being called Squad X, under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
At least two programs are being tested that would allow infantry soldiers to “collaborate” with AI and their autonomous systems to get better results in “complex, time-critical combat situations.”
Robots won’t kill people, though.
“A human would be involved in any lethal action,” Root said. “But we’re establishing superior situational awareness through sufficient input and AI, and then the ability to do something about it at fast time scales.”
The objective is a “warfighting force with artificial intelligence as a true partner.”
A recent field test at the Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California, featured two different systems that would let soldiers work with AI and autonomous systems. In one case, a wheeled robot is deployed to help make “better decisions in complex, time-critical combat situations.”
“We are in a race with potential adversaries to operationalize autonomy, and we have the opportunity to demonstrate autonomy in a way that we don’t believe any nation in the world has demonstrated to date,” said Root.
“Developing hardware and tactics that allow us to operate seamlessly within a close combat ground environment is extremely challenging, but provides incredible value.”
The two systems so far reviewed are CACI’s BITS Electronic Attack Module (BEAM) Squad System (BSS) and Lockheed Martin’s Augmented Spectral Situational Awareness and Unaided Localization for Transformative Squads (ASSAULTS) system.