Speakers at the fifth edition of the “Unmanned Systems 2022” discussed the immense possibilities of drones in defence and other allied sectors as well as the increasing role played by artificial intelligence and robotics in the sphere.
The conference, which is organized along with the UMEX and SimTEX 2022 exhibitions, began in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The conference theme is “Autonomous Systems Without Borders: Huge Breakthrough and Promising Prospects”.
Organized by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense in the United Arab Emirates, the conference attracted a group of thought leaders, high-ranking officials and academic researchers from different countries of the world. More than 2,000 experts and specialists participated in it, both in person and virtually. The speakers addressed various contemporary issues related to AI and robotics. The distinction between unmanned and autonomous systems, the need to further develop big data to better facilitate real -time decision making, and the importance of continuing to build trust when it comes to training on unmanned systems were among the other topics that came up for discussion.
Tim Williams, Airbus Helicopters Special Adviser – NAVAL & VUAV, said that while drones would affect, up to a point, the way operations are conducted, the goals of the operations are not likely to change substantially. “We are trying to replace the human with all the flexibility and versatility in the brain into the drone. There are a whole range of activity there which comes back to the effect you need, the cost effectiveness, and the acceptability of that technolog.”
Artificial Intelligence and unmanned systems are continuing to reshape the world, said Hasan Al Hosani, Chief Executive Office of Bayanat. “Today, these technologies are playing a key role in the advancement of military, national security, transportation and in our day-to-day activities. We are witnessing a significant growth in demand across all these sectors. Historically, the evolvement of technology in the military sector has always transitioned to the civil and commercial market. These solutions enhance cost optimisation and operational efficiency of organizational practices.
“Since the acquisition of Bayanat by G42, we focused on using unmanned systems in multiple domains including aerial unmanned systems for our aerial surveying and unmanned surface vehicles for Hydrographic surveying,” Al Hosani added.
“The main challenge is how can we understand when a decision is better taken by a man and when it is better to be taken by an unmanned platform in order to increase the overall capability of the mission,” said Petter Bedoire, Chief Technology Officer, Saab AB. “Today, we are quite mature in areas of basic platform autonomy to transfer and move a platform from point A to point B with navigation and obstacle avoidance. When it comes to tactical autonomy, there are many challenges remaining. We need to know how much trust we can place on the autonomy of an unmanned platform to fully understand the mission objectives.”
Aymeric Moullart de Torcy, Operational Marketing Drones & Cyber, Naval Group, Dr. Eng. Cesare Battaglia, Partner, PwC AD&S Leader, Italy, Alex Hicks, Assistant Chief of Staff, Capability Development Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ACOS Cap ISR) – Royal Air Force, Major General Sean A. Gainey, United States Army, Director, Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office, Director, Fires Headquarters Department of the Army, Brigadier General Lau Boon Ping, Chief of Staff – Air Staff, Republic of Singapore, Air Force, James Cluff, Founding Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Soar Beyond, USA, Walid Benzarti, Director for Innovation, Research & Technology, Land and Air Systems, Global Business Unit, Thales Group, France, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SME, UAE, . Dr Nenad Miloradovic, Assistant Minister of Defence for Material Resources, Republic of Serbia, Captain Michael D. Brasseur, Commodore – Task Force 59, Commander, Unmanned & A.I. Integration, Prof. Oussama Khatib, Department of Computer Science, Director of Stanford Robotic Lab, Stanford University, USA, and Prof. Lakmal Seneviratne, Director, Khalifa University Centre for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS) UAE, were among those who spoke at the conference.
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