Computer Robots Gather Intelligence

October 3, 2001 | Source: Associated Press

The U.S. military is testing software robots that can identify targets and present them to commanders much more quickly than a human could.

The software, known as the Control of Agent-Based Systems or CoABS, uses AI agents to sift through troves of images and intelligence data to find viable targets.
“It takes us too long to get the intelligence to a weapons system,” said James Hendler, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s just-departed chief information systems scientist. “These agents route the right information to the right people at the right time.”

The agents might transfer an image from, say, an Air Force spy plane directly to a commander on a nearby Naval vessel, who could quickly order a cruise missile strike — bypassing the usual route through Washington.

Army, Navy and Air Force researchers — along with defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. — have recognized software agents as “absolutely critical” in solving another long-standing frustration — the inability to share data across the military’s myriad computer systems.