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AI to Take Navy to Next Level, Says Research Chief

Lorin Selby

Research Chief

U.S. Navy

AI to Take Navy to Next Level, Says Research Chief

Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, chief of naval research, considers artificial intelligence to be a groundbreaking technology for the U.S. Navy. 

“I really, truly believe that if we can master this, if we can bring this to all of our capabilities whether it’s your iPhone or your combat system on your ship, this is going to take us to the next level,” he said. 

During the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Exposition, which was held online on Sept. 10, Selby said the agency is exploring options to integrate AI technologies into warships to improve performance. He added that the service branch is keen on automating routine work to give personnel more time on other relevant tasks. 

He also said the agency is reviewing how to automate system maintenance. AI can be used to determine potential areas of failure in systems such as aircraft, surface vessels and submarines.

“When you can automate all that stuff and not even think about it and the machine is now helping you, you now go to the next level,” he said. 

In addition, the organization is conducting the AVENGER Naval AI Grand Challenge aimed at advancing AI technologies in less than two years. Participants include the service, naval laboratories and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center

Brett Vaughan, the Navy’s chief AI officer, said the service branch needs such an undertaking to change the way they work. 

Parties involved, he said, formed small, agile teams but the service plans to conduct simultaneous testing, evaluation and other tasks. 

“For AI, they need to be done in parallel and simultaneously and as much in the same virtual space, if not physical, as possible,” according to Vaughan, adding that the small teams are instrumental to making the Navy more digital, nimble and effective.

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