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article imageInternet of Battlefield Things starts to take shape

By Tim Sandle     Oct 19, 2017 in Technology
The U.S. Army has outlined plans for Internet of Battlefield Things, taking the advantages of connectivity developed for the home, via systems like Amazon Echo, into the warzone.
The U.S. Army is now looking to implement connected technologies on the battlefield and to do so the Army has enlisted assistance from some U.S. research universities. This has been undertaken through a $25 million Army Research Laboratory project. Involved in the development, the Chicago Tribune reports, is the lead organization, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, together with five other academic centers within the U.S.
A wireless military
The concept of using wireless technology by the military is not new, for some systems are already connected. The idea of the new initiative is to extend connectivity far more widely. This comes under the militaristic heading of the ‘Alliance for Internet of Battlefield Things Research on Evolving Intelligent Goal-driven Networks’ (or IoBT REIGN for short).
Included within the scope, according to TechSpot, is the use of predictive battlefield analytics to help steer the Army's weapons. A further aim is to provide soldiers with a so-termed "extra sensory" perception of threats. Added to this is an enhanced situational understanding of the battlefield, and data science driven risk assessments. In terms of what this means, the Internet of Battlefield Things could be used to predict enemy troop movements or to analyze battlefield supplies to use resources more optimally.
Empowering the military with the IoT
According to Dr. Tarek Abdelzaher, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was interviewed by Silicon Republic: “The goal of this program is the development of new intellectual foundations and new knowledge. How do we empower the U.S. Army to have a higher competitive advantage in a world where adversaries are becoming increasingly technologically sophisticated?”
Some of the concepts represent radical changes in how a weapon is used to kill. Part of the plans is to have a soldier instruct a weapon about an intention (such as to fire) and then utilize machine intelligence to take over to execute that goal.
There are risks with this initiative, such as a systems breakdown or a cyberattack. It could be possible to lock out connected weapons in the middle of a war zone. This makes the control and security aspects of the development of great importance.
More about Internet of Battlefield Things, War, Battles, Tanks, Internet
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