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European Defence Agency workshop with industry on Artificial Intelligence

Last week, EDA hosted a virtual workshop on ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) for defence’ which brought together over 230 industrial and experts from 20 Member States who shared insight on the impact and potential of AI for defence. 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 business cases.
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EDA is very active in the field of Artificial Intelligence and has provided a number of papers and presentations to its Steering Board, aiming at developing an action plan and a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) on Artificial Intelligence for defence. (Picture source: EDA)

To pursue a more structured and focused dialogue with industry and to facilitate industry engagement in EDA activities as supported by the EDA Steering Board, EDA is organising a series of workshops with industry on a number of capability development and R&T areas in support of its 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 hot 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, aiming at developing an action plan and a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) on Artificial Intelligence for defence.

This week’s industry expert-based 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 activities.

In view of developing a meaningful SRA, the participation of and interaction with industry and academia at the early stages of drafting is particularly important in order to gather and analyse their inputs concerning technological and industrial challenges and expected developments, thus enriching the SRA.

The ambition of this workshop was to evaluate the various possibilities in which AI can be integrated to further support defence capability needs and EU research initiatives, by exploring the AI definition and taxonomy on which AI activities will be based and by identifying enablers and obstacles as well as its possible effects on the application of AI in this domain.

The workshop identified areas within the defence realm which are expected to become substantially impacted by AI applications (e.g. multi sensor fusion, predictive maintenance, simulation etc.) and it addressed the key challenges related to the introduction of AI in defence. The workshop also analysed the missing enablers required for the future expansion of AI in defence while also listing various requirements needed for developing trusted AI systems. The workshop served as a consultation platform with industry which will help EDA to launch additional initiatives to incorporate AI in defence and to experiment with current and new operating concepts.


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