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EpiSci Wins Navy’s Drone Software Development Challenge

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EpiSys Science has won an artificial intelligence-focused prize challenge sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division and the NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge.

ONR said Monday that as the winner of the AI for Small Unit Maneuvers contest, the California-based team could potentially have a cooperative agreement with the Department of the Navy to continue software development and come up with an operational prototype.

The AISUM Prize Challenge was initiated in an effort to gain help in developing hardware-agnostic software algorithms. It consisted of three phases: submission of white papers and virtual presentation; building of software algorithms for simulated scenarios based on a government-furnished virtual map; and installation of algorithms in actual drones and demonstration of area mapping and object identification capabilities as well as indoor maneuverability during a live exercise at NSWC Crane’s Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

“We can use drones the Navy already has instead of buying new ones. We also can upgrade them or add capabilities by uploading multiple types of software to a single machine,” said Blake Busey, an AISUM technical lead.

The challenge was done over a 10-month period and spared $750,000 in total prize.

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