EDA today announced the winner of the 2019 EDA Defence Innovation Prize which, this year, rewards the most innovative idea or application for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in defence. The trophy goes to epic.blue, a young Belgian company specialised in Location Intelligence Systems, for their idea to use AI-driven tactical decision aids to provide commanders of military operations with accurate and seamless positioning data of teams in GNSS-denied environments. The Prize was handed over by EDA Deputy Chief Executive Olli Ruutu at a ceremony in the margins of the Agency’s Annual Conference today in Brussels.
The availability, in all circumstances, of precise, reliable and constantly updated data on the current operational status and environment of an operation is crucial and helps military commanders to speed up and improve their decision-making. The benefits for military operations using new AI-based location intelligence tools are increased situational awareness, safety and operational effectiveness.
The starting point for the winning idea was the fact that commanders are more and more overwhelmed by a deluge of information, driven by the continuous rise of available sensor data and the increased inter-connectivity of deployed systems. By contrast, a long-standing information gap still exists: accurate positioning of teams in GNSS-denied environments. The solution proposed in the winning project is thus to create a range of AI tactical decision aids (TDA) which, together with humans in the loop, can considerably augment commanders’ thought processes and speed of decision-making, thanks to accurate and seamless positioning of their troops, even in GNSS-denied environments.
The proposed AI decision aids would use 4D data generated and collected during trainings and operations: movement of forces, time and location of hostile encounters, theoretical planning and movement, etc.. All that 4D data captured by the system is stored with timestamp and location to create a storyboard for post-mission analysis. Using this data, AI can then be made to learn which are normal movement and timing patterns of safe operations. This creates an understanding of the normal situation, without needing a lot of human intervention. If the AI detects deviations of the norm, alerts are raised and alternate courses of action can be proposed. Prediction capacities could also be included in the future. The resulting capability would be an AI-driven tool which can observe current operations and propose alternatives as required by the operational circumstances.
"We are very pleased to receive EDA’s Defence Innovation Prize. epic.blue’s mission is to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of field teams. This recognition enables us to further carry our mission into the security domain and create strong partnerships", stated the company’s CEO, Michael Ilsbroux.
epic.blue is a leading technology company providing COTS software for high-performance and highly accurate location intelligence in business critical systems. it is specialised in combining and visualizing so-called 4D data (3D location and Time) and IoT sensor data. The Artificial Intelligence engine the company has developed manages a dynamic digital representation of field operations. It enables to understand, predict and optimise the performance of operations in real-time. This engine also powers ‘Shyn’, the company’s personal location and safety device for seamless positioning in GNSS-denied environments. epic.blue currently serves the First Responder community and the Pharmaceutical and Industry 4.0 markets.