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EDA pursues work on Artificial Intelligence in defence

Last week, EDA hosted a virtual workshop on ‘Defence Applications of Artificial Intelligence’ (DAAI 2021) which, as part of the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Applications and Innovations (AIAI 2021), brought together experts and scientists from  Member States who shared insight on the impact and potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in defence applications. With the AI work strand, EDA is entering a promising territory as it prepares to foster further integration of AI in R&T projects for defence applications.

To pursue a more structured and focused dialogue with industry and the research community, EDA is organising a series of workshops with industry and academia on a number of capability development and R&T areas in support of its wider work related to the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA), the revised Capability Development Plan (CDP) and the associated Strategic Context Cases (SCC) through which the priorities are being implemented, as well as the Key Strategic Activities (KSA).

Artificial Intelligence has become a strategically important topic as many countries and entities are investing in it and because it is among the top priorities for research and development of future systems and concepts. EDA is very active in this domain and has provided a number of  papers and presentations to its Steering Board, with a view to developing an action plan and a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) on Artificial Intelligence for defence.

Last week’s scientific workshop was one of several steps taken by the Agency to work towards the action plan and the SRA. The following steps will be the development of AI based ad hoc projects and technology building block (TBB) roadmaps to further stimulate the application of AI in future defence applications.

The ambition of last week’s first DAAI workshop was to evaluate the various possibilities in which AI can be integrated to further support defence capability needs and EU research initiatives, and to present recent AI developments which have a potential to be used in defense and security applications.

The workshop lasted two days and encompassed a total of six sessions, including three keynote speeches delivered by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX). Conference participants also witnessed a roundtable discussion on current trends and future research goals for AI in security and defence sectors with the participation of representatives of EDA, ENISA, FRONTEX and highly reputed university professors. In addition, two scientific sessions were organised: one showcasing EDA AI projects in different domains and another one dedicated to state of the art AI research. Finally, EDA presented elements of the upcoming AI action plan focusing on areas where academia, industry and research organisations can contribute.