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Indian Launches 75 AI-Enabled Products

Image credit: rajnathsingh; Twitter

The Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, launched 75 artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled products at the first-ever AI in Defence (AIDef) symposium and exhibition, organised by the Ministry of Defence earlier this week. According to a press release, the products fall under various domains, including:

  • AI platform automation
  • autonomous/unmanned/robotics systems
  • blockchain-based automation
  • command, control, communication, computer & intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance
  • human behavioural analysis
  • intelligent monitoring systems
  • lethal autonomous weapon systems
  • logistics and supply chain management and operational data analytics
  • manufacturing and maintenance
  • simulators/test equipment and speech and voice analysis using natural language processing.

Three AI products developed by defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), namely an AI-enabled voice transcription/analysis software, a driver fatigue monitoring system, and an AI-enabled evaluation of welding defects in X-rays of non-destructive testing were screened during the event.

Singh also released an e-book comprising the details of the 75 products. It explored the collective efforts taken by government research departments and the private industry over the last four years in the field of AI. He said that the government aims to develop AI-enabled applications for enhanced social welfare and national security. India intends to be a global hub for AI and among the leading countries in the field.

Additionally, the government has signed several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the industry to create and deploy AI applications in the defence sector. Many AI-related challenges under the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiatives have been launched. The challenges explore a variety of areas, including radio frequency spectrum management, underwater domain awareness, satellite image analysis, and friend or foe identification systems. Singh urged the industry and start-ups to explore newer avenues and work closely with the government to ensure India is completely self-reliant in AI technology.

The event was attended by dignitaries from foreign countries, senior officials from government ministries, and representatives from research institutes, academia, and industry.

The Indian Defense Department has been using AI in equipment and for several initiatives over the past decade. In January 2019, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, initiated a project to develop AI-based solutions for signal intelligence to enhance collation and analysis capabilities of the armed forces. The AI-based tools help defence forces constructively in decision-making, sensor data analysis, predictive maintenance, situational awareness, accurate data extraction, and security.

Earlier, the Indian Army set up an AI centre at the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) in Madhya Pradesh. It oversees more than 140 deployments in areas of emerging tech and active support of the industry and academia. The centre, along with a quantum computing laboratory, carries out extensive research in developing transformative technologies for military use.

In January, the Navy announced it had progressed around 30 AI projects that encompassed autonomous systems, language translation, predictive maintenance, inventory management, text mining, perimeter security, maritime domain awareness, and decision making. As OpenGov Asia reported, the AI initiatives have both tactical and strategic level impacts. Officials stated that the Navy would launch several other major projects that incorporate AI and machine learning (ML). Along with centres of excellence, the Navy has organised seminars and workshops with academics and experts for its personnel, focussing on capacity building.

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