Military Embedded Systems

AI solutions dominate on SOF Week exhibit floor


May 10, 2023

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Gantz-Mountain showcased AI solutions.

SOF WEEK 2023 – TAMPA, Fla. From data collection to tactical-level edge processing, artificial intelligence (AI) solutions were proliferated on the 2023 SOF Week exhibition floor here throughout the week, with numerous companies highlighting how AI can be used at a practical level to assist the military.

Bluestone Analytics, a company founded in 2016 and later acquired by CACI, showcased an intelligence platform that aims to scrape data across the world and in different languages to help special operations forces.

Sam Carney, president of Bluestone Analytics, and Andrew Craig, a sales engineer at the company, described Dark Blue as a tool that collects data from both the dark web and other anonymous environments, such as specific Twitter accounts and Telegram channels. The collected data then goes through a data ingest pipeline, where it is structured and tagged using AI.

"So, our AI is being used in order to make it a lot easier for the analysts to find relevant data for the mission requirements," Carney said.

The primary customer segments for their technology include intelligence analysts for special operations and federal law enforcement. Their AI can be used in multiple ways, such as finding leads that analysts can follow up on or accessing leaked data, Carney said.

Other applications of their AI technology include targeting and information operations, Craig said, noting that the AI is also capable of tracking and analyzing information in multiple languages, which allows for more targeted approaches.

"That way, if I'm looking for what's going on, say Russia and Ukraine, I [can] see what's going on on the ground,” he said.

Bluestone Analytics currently has contracts with USSOCOM. The Dark Blue tool was launched in the summer of 2020.

"Dark Blue, the product that you see now, it's gone through a few iterations,” Carney said.

Gantz-Mountain also showcased AI at the event, but had a different focus: their tech is centered around edge processing and bringing artificial intelligence down to the tactical level. Col. Greg Wilson (USA, Ret.), co-founder of Gantz-Mountain, said the company was “pioneering” edge processing by focusing the tactical level for its AI solution.

He emphasized the importance of embedding edge processing, exploitation, and dissemination within their camera systems, putting AI directly in the hands of operators with the aim of saving on manpower and bandwidth while improving decision-making.

The technology is designed to compress the reconnaissance and kill chains while providing force protection and long-range reconnaissance capabilities. One of their cameras can see out to 10 kilometers for vehicles and 4 kilometers for personnel, offering a standoff capability for special reconnaissance, Wilson said.

This AI technology helps reduce the cognitive load on warfighters, especially in small team enterprises, he added.

"Every operator has different specialties that he's doing,” he said. “We’ve got to relieve that cognitive load. They can't be watching screens, they need to set up autonomous systems. Let [this technology] do the sensing for them. That way they can focus on the mission and they're not distracted.

"They're at the tip of the spear,” he continued. “They’ve got to have that organic capability.”

Shield AI put its Hivemind AI technology front and center on its booth on the exhibit floor. Shield AI aims to operationalize Hivemind, which is intended to allow warfighters to command multiple UASs. The technology can be trained to execute numerous missions, such as integrated air defense breach, SCUD missile hunting, zone reconnaissance, counter-air, beyond-visual-range strike, maritime domain awareness, and communications-contested operations.

Shield AI describes Hivemind as an autonomous AI pilot and an ecosystem of tightly integrated AI software tools that uses modular open system architecture, providing autonomous tasks and behaviors for single or multiple systems. The company is working toward several milestones for both Hivemind and the V-BAT uncrewed aerial system, including flight tests and the delivery of prototype V-BATs with Hivemind integration.