Australian counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) specialist DroneShield announced on 13 November that it had secured a A$600,000 contract to further develop its artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms for a defence department of a Five Eyes country.
The Five Eyes is a signals intelligence (SIGINT) alliance between the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
The contract will take DroneShield beyond its traditional C-UAS focus and seeks to apply AL/ML to broader defence applications
“This ground-breaking contract expands DroneShield beyond being a pioneer and global leader in the C-UAS domain, and into the AI/ML space within the defence sector,” said Oleg Vornik, DroneShield CEO.
The company earlier announced on 10 November that it had demonstrated its DroneOptID C-UAS detection system developed in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
DroneOptID is a software that incorporates Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) algorithms developed by UTS to detect, identify, and track suspicious small UAS and even their payloads.
“We are using CNNs and deep learning to provide a solution for DroneShield to identify drones which could be of potential threat,” said project lead and Co-Director of UTS Intelligent Drone Lab (IDL) Dr Nabin Sharma.
“The algorithm enables the vision system to see what’s happening, to collate data and process it for ultra-fast image recognition and analysis,” Dr Sharma explained. “This delivers a speedy and efficient assessment of a threat and the decision-making in response to it.”
The software has also been integrated to DroneShield’s DroneSentry C-UAS suite.
Work commenced on DroneOptID in October 2019 following the UAS attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities at Abqaiq–Khurais.
DroneShield was earlier awarded funding by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to incorporate specific enhancements to its DroneShieldComplete command and control (C2) system, in anticipation of further sales to the DoD of its C-UAS solutions that will operate off the improved C2 system.