Spy Technology Puts British Troops Street Ahead In City Warfare

British scientists have tested artificial technology that gives troops an edge over the enemy on a battlefield.

The tracks hostile movements and predicts enemy tactics by analysing streams of data gathered from drones, aircraft and sensors.

Hailed as war-changing technology, the system makes decisions to aid battlefield commanders and reduces the risk of human error that can lead to casualties.

The technology is designed for street-to-street operations and was developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and industry partners is known as SAPIENT replaces soldiers manning complicated command-and-control systems.

Artificial intelligence makes decisions

British Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: “This British system can act as autonomous eyes in the urban battlefield. This technology can scan streets for enemy movements so troops can be ready for combat with quicker, more reliable information on attackers hiding around the corner.

“Investing millions in advanced technology like this will give us the edge in future battles. It also puts us in a strong position to benefit from similar projects run by our allies as we all strive for a more secure world.”

The technology was just one of several tested by troops from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada in Montreal over recent weeks.

Besides SAPIENT, the troops tested battlefield robots, unmanned surveillance systems and other technologies.

Hidden sensors

SAPIENT was hailed a success and will undergo further testing with a view to being available to troops by 2025. The system has taken five years and several million pounds to research and develop.

The technology feeds data from several sources, including hidden ground sensors into a network for analysis that presents troops on the ground with information they need to know about hostile activity around them.

The artificial intelligence highlights unusual activity, like suspicious people near checkpoints and changing behaviour.

Lt Col Nat Haden, SO1 Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Capability, Army Headquarters, said: “We need to develop the practical solutions to a lot of the aspirations that we want. It brings together our requirements as a user and Dstl as scientific advisers for the expert view. The strength of testing on the battlefield is that we’re developing things with our key allies.”