UAS Technology Report 2023 | Shephard
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IntroductionThinking machinesHidden dangers

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How artificial intelligence and novel advanced sensors can take UAS operations to the next level 



UAS are now a common feature of both asymmetric and more conventional warfare. Advances in hardware and software mean that they could play an even greater role in future, as Shephard’s latest Technology Report discovers. 

As artificial intelligence becomes increasingly widespread, Gerrard Cowan takes a timely look at how it is opening up new possibilities for military UAS operations. As developers seek to leverage the potential of greater autonomy and faster decision-making while keeping the all-important human in the loop, the first part of this report tackles the challenges of combining two of the defining technologies of the 21st century.

UAS equipped with electro-optics have long been a part of the frontline commander’s toolkit to gain a situational awareness advantage. Building on this, industry is now expanding the horizons of uncrewed sensing, developing new payloads going beyond the visible to detect chemical, biological and nuclear threats. The second part of this report examines the technologies being deployed in the ongoing quest to keep personnel out of harm’s way. 

David Hurst, Director, Branded Content

Report Contents

NOVEMBER 2023 |  technology report  | UAS

Thinking machines 

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With applications in areas such as image recognition, navigation and decision-making, artificial intelligence is set to become a key enabler for battlefield UAS, creating both new mission sets and enhancing performance on existing ones. 

Hidden dangers

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Detection of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats is an inherently dangerous task, often still carried out by dismounted troops using handheld devices. Advances in drone-borne sensors and greater autonomy for uncrewed aircraft is beginning to relieve this risky burden, however.


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