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Col. Samuel Edwards: Army Eyes AI-Based Cloud Platform for Managing sUAS Operations

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Col. Samuel Edwards
Col. Samuel Edwards U.S. Army

Col. Samuel Edwards, director of the U.S. Army’s Robotics Requirements Division, said the service is relying on cloud and artificial intelligence to support a network envisioned to manage small-drone operations, FedScoop reported Monday.

Edwards told the publication that the Army plans to establish an AI-enabled Universal Robotic Controller Application (URCA) for managing small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) and ingesting UAS-collected data by 2024.

The cloud-based URCA will have edge-level computing elements and feature an open-architecture framework to “bring in any capacity that we need,” he noted.

“You got this constant umbrella of sensors that are around you and working together and reconnecting back through this AI cloud,” said Edwards. “That is kind of what we talk about and what we mean when we use the words autonomous and AI.”

Matthew Borowski, technical project manager for sUAS at the Defense Innovation Unit, told the publication in September 2020 that warfighters were “left with no options at all” after the U.S. government blacklisted Chinese UAS manufacturer DJI in 2017.

The Army has since worked with companies like drone software maker Auterion to address UAS interoperability issues, according to FedScoop.

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