Artificial intelligence. As the US Navy forges ahead in developing unmanned surface drones and underwater drones to augment the fleet of the future, the information technology and artificial intelligence that will pilot these platforms has become a priority during work in progress, the navytimes.com reported Thursday.
“The maritime service needs to better improve its efforts…” said a US government monitoring report, released this week.
Navy shipbuilding plans call for spending more than $4 billion on such drones over the next five years, but the plan “does not take into account the full development and operating costs of these drones.” systems,” according to this report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
+ $4.3 billion for unmanned maritime systems +
“Although the Navy has established strategic goals for these efforts, it has not established a management approach that directs its individual unmanned maritime efforts toward achieving these goals,” the report said.
And to add that: “As such, the Navy does not measure its progress, such as building the robust information technology needed to operate the vehicles. »
The Navy is “only beginning to assess the effects (of unmanned systems) on existing shipbuilding plans,” the report said.
While the Navy outlined a plan to spend $4.3 billion on unmanned maritime systems in its shipbuilding plan, “we found that this underestimates the costs associated with these systems because it does not take account of all costs, in particular operations and sustainment, and the necessary digital infrastructure…”, it is noted.
Furthermore, funding for unmanned development could also come under pressure from competing shipbuilding demands.
According to this document, the Navy has not yet established criteria for evaluating prototypes or developing better timelines for these prototype efforts.
“With detailed planning, prototyping has the potential to continue technology development and reduce acquisition risk before the Navy makes significant investments,” the report said. “Since unmanned systems are critical to the future of the Navy, optimizing the prototyping phase of this effort is necessary to efficiently gain insights to support future decisions. »
The Navy is looking to introduce several unmanned systems to the fleet over the next few decades, according to the GAO, and while some software is unique to each platform, the Navy also wants to have many digital infrastructures common to these vehicles.
+ The Navy should also establish an “unmanned maritime systems portfolio”+
Navy officials told the GAO that the maritime service needs a host of technologies, including simulation software, autonomy and mission planning software, large datasets for machine learning, as well as off-the-shelf technology and software that can be quickly purchased and integrated into Navy systems, according to NavyTimes.
Among its recommendations, the report says the Navy should provide Congress with a cost estimate for all of the work that will be required to bring unmanned systems into the fleet, while developing an approach to refine that estimate in the next plan. of shipbuilding.
The maritime service is also expected to establish an “unmanned maritime systems portfolio” and designate an entity to oversee that portfolio, while offering more details on how it intends to achieve its unmanned goals, according to the same source. (Navytimes.com)
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