Military Embedded Systems

Naval autonomy and AI technology goal of Rolls-Royce R&D funding


February 26, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Naval autonomy and AI technology goal of Rolls-Royce R&D funding
Ministry of Defense image.

UNITED KINGDOM. Rolls-Royce has been awarded funding by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to further develop and demonstrate the Artificial Chief Engineer technology — an autonomous machinery control system which allows Naval vessels to undertake long-endurance missions with less human interaction.

Developed by Rolls-Royce, Artificial Chief Engineer is designed to be a critical enabler for autonomous missions by acting as the equivalent of the engineering department responsible for the health and the operation of an unmanned vessel’s machinery.

The funding to continue the development has been awarded under the UK MoD’s Defense and Security Accelerator Intelligent Ship Phase Two program, which is used to de-risk and evaluate technologies and approaches to enhance the armed forces’ technical advantage. This 16-month program aims to investigate how effective human-AI collaboration can be best exploited to improve decision-making and planning within complex operating environments.

Artificial Chief Engineer is an on-board, secure, decision-making control system designed to intelligently operate the machinery of lean-manned and unmanned naval vessels. The technology makes condition-based decisions about how best to operate the machinery using algorithms to optimize the ship. 

Intelligent Ship is a Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) project to develop novel and innovative technologies and concepts to facilitate the use of intelligent systems within future platforms.

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