Remote Access & AI for Royal Navy Ship Control Would Make Captains 'Suspicious'

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Defence manufacturer BAE Systems are investing millions in the technology of the future to help control military ships in the present.

Royal Navy ships could be soon controlled by captains on land via new augmented reality headsets and artificial intelligence technologies. Remote control access is part of a $25 million (£20mn) investment in a range of new technology solutions for naval ships, developed by BAE Systems.

The project would see naval command rooms moved to land, which could potentially reduce risks to sailors and ship crews during combat, according to the manufacturer.  

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitThe British Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark anchored in Haifa port, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
The British Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark anchored in Haifa port, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. - Sputnik International
The British Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark anchored in Haifa port, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Among other solutions planned by BAE Systems are Augmented Reality (AR) glasses for Royal Navy officers, which would allow them to access tactical data and other operational information from anywhere on the ship.

To help officers reach crucial decisions faster, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be introduced to combat systems, allowing for quick processing of data.

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitCrew members of the British Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark holds weapons as the ship is anchored in Haifa port, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
Crew members of the British Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark holds weapons as the ship is anchored in Haifa port, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.  - Sputnik International
Crew members of the British Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark holds weapons as the ship is anchored in Haifa port, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Frank Cotton, BAE chief technology officer for naval systems, suggested that the Royal Navy might be suspicious of the idea at first because it contradicts the conservative concept of a ship's captain having to be on board.

"The concept of the future Navy control room that we are working with is that it will not actually be on-board the ship. We think this will work because we know that you can have pilots in a Texas desert controlling drones that fly over Afghanistan. So why not have the officers somewhere safe, instead of on-board?" Mr. Cotton added.

The BAE tech chief said the proposed technologies have the potential to transform maritime warfare and greatly increase the situational awareness and efficiency of crews on board Royal Navy ships.

"Our combat systems expertise and investment in future technologies will ensure we continue to deliver innovative capabilities to navies," he added.

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