The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas said Thursday it will be leading a $7.5 million U.S. Department of Defense project to create artificial intelligence technology for military drones.
UT researchers will try to develop AI that can help drones to more thoroughly learn information as they fly and to possibly maneuver themselves during emergency situations. Such technology, the school said, could help the defense department lower the number of drones lost due to system failures or damage while flying.
Ufuk Topcu, an assistant professor at UT’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics , said developing the AI technology will be a challenge.
“Our approach to this unprecedented challenge embraces the fact that developing truly autonomous systems — in particular, control-oriented learning on the fly — is beyond the reach of any single (scientific fields),” Topcu said in a written statement.
It’s not clear what the timeline is for the UT-led project.
Drones have become a key tool in U.S. military efforts. The unmanned aircraft, which are often used for targeted strikes, have gained notoriety during recent years through the government’s use of drones during military operations in the Middle East and other areas.
UT said its research could also help other industries such as autonomous vehicles.
According to UT, the defense department has awarded $169 million in grants in 2018 to academic institutions to perform research.
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