Military eyes AI-backed surveillance system


The Ministry of National Defense plans to introduce a series of cutting-edge technologies to enhance its military prowess and maintenance capabilities, it said Tuesday. 
The move came as part of the ministry's efforts to foster the efficiency of military management at a time when the number of troops is declining at a rapid pace, according to the ministry. 
The ministry has joined hands with the Ministry of Science and ICT for the ongoing project under which the former plans to introduce emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). 
For smarter and advanced weapons systems, the defense ministry will build what it calls an "intelligent ICT monitoring system" by integrating visual information collected from military satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles. 
After piling up enough datasets, the AI technology will allow monitoring devices to recognize and analyze information on surveillance areas, with all the processes done automatically without any human labor, according to the ministry. 
To build the AI-driven surveillance systems, the defense ministry will invest 10.6 billion won ($10 million) by 2021. The ministry expects the system to provide more precise monitoring output regardless of weather. 
The ministry also said it will establish a more systemized and state-of-the-art training environment by introducing VR devices and AR platforms. 
"The 3D VR training systems are expected to make a big contribution to maximizing the training efficiency, reducing military budgets and preventing accidents," a ministry official said. 
The head-mounted VR displays are the talk of the tech town here and abroad, as the technology can provide people with vivid and quasi-real-world experiences. For this reason, a growing number of industries - such as gaming, education and electronics - identify the technology as their next growth engine. 
To be specific, the Army will use VR devices to carry out simulated field training. The Navy also plans to develop a VR-powered submarine training program. 
The defense ministry is also mulling introducing internet of things (IoT)-driven military facility management systems, in a move to reduce maintenance costs and make up for the declining number of soldiers here. 
IoT is widely used for home and industrial purposes. The defense ministry said it will adopt IoT systems equipped with vibrating and heat-detecting sensors for internal security management. 
"The network-driven management system will also use a key wireless platform, allowing the military to reduce its heavy reliance on soldiers in a series of military maintenance activities," the ministry said.