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March 13, 2020

Smart choices: Systematic introduces AI to streamline work processes


The AI Assisted Toolbox is designed to ease the workload of operators, reducing the time required to build command layers, among other benefits.

Discussions regarding Artificial Intelligence in the military domain often centre on its use in processing vast quantities of complex data, conducting wide area surveillance, or supporting autonomous systems, however, while these may be amongst the applications of AI that capture the attention of the public, the technology can also be applied to improve functionality and user experience.

The use of AI, autonomous systems, or other automated processes often seeks to fill the so-called ‘dull, dirty, and dangerous’ tasks that can be completed by humans, but in which there is benefit in removing the man-in-the-loop. While at the ‘dangerous’ end of the spectrum the high risk task of ordnance disposal via robotic systems comes to mind, ‘dull’ is rather more focussed on process-based work that can often be labour intensive and time consuming. It is here that Systematic has recognised that AI can be used to improve workflows and functionality.

The AI Assisted Toolbox that has been developed for the SitaWare command-and-control suite is designed to ease the workload of operators, in the first instance with regards to the processes required to build command layers in the software’s map interface.

“The AI algorithm automatically adapts based on the decisions that users make in choosing symbology for given scenarios or areas of operation,” explains Peter Hinge, Machine Learning Specialist at Systematic, “Subsequently, it presents the most common and likely to be required to the operator when they open menus to select symbology. For example, if a command layer in a particular area is typically composed of infantry units, then the associated symbology is prioritised over others. This serves to streamline and speed-up the process, as well as helping to limit errors.”

The ‘knowledge’ developed by different SitaWare users can also be passed between them if command layers are shared. So, if a SitaWare user joins a mission or enters an area of operations that an another user is already active in, they can draw on the operational knowledge already established.

In the first instance, the AI Assisted Toolbox feature will be applied in SitaWare Headquarters 6.12, but the capability will also be rolled out to the Frontline and Edge systems. While its benefits at higher command levels – where more detailed, labour-intensive planning is carried out – is clear, the utility that the algorithm brings can also greatly aid users at the tactical level. Simplifying and speeding-up the interaction that a dismounted commander requires with their mobile device, for example, minimises the amount of time that they don’t have ‘heads up’ situational awareness of their surroundings.     

Combat effectiveness is closely tied to speed of action, and whether that be at the command level where detailed plans are composed or at the tactical edge during kinetic operations, simplifying and streamlining processes can have a significant impact. 

Enhancing the user experience is one of a number of avenues that Systematic is exploring in the use of AI and other advanced technologies.

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