Thales TrUE AI approach to Artificial Intelligence unveiled

The digital revolution affords us a glimpse of the true potential of IoT, Cybersecurity, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, and the threats they could pose. Of these four digital technology pillars, none are more evocative as Artificial Intelligence. Humans tend to antropomorphise abstract concepts, to give them a voice and a face, and few have been more popularised in fiction as an existential threat, than the notion of machines rising against humans. This year, at the Paris Air Show, Thales pulled back the curtain to try and provide a glimpse of how AI should actually be viewed, not with distrust but with an understanding of how it should be, transparent, understandable and ethical. So, this year Thales unveiled the TrUE AI approach. 

The Thales TrUE AI approach stands for Transparent AI, where users can see the data used to arrive at a conclusion. Understandable AI, that can explain and justify the results and finally an Ethical AI, that follows objective standards protocols, laws, and human rights. This approach permeated the Group’s offering at the Paris Air Show 2019, by seeking to glean an AI that puts the human back in control.

To demonstrate this, visitors were taken through a journey to discover how AI would make our world more secure, more efficient and most importantly, put the human at the centre. The journey will begin by asking you a simple question: “As a child what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?” To answer it we will show you the world through the eyes of a Fighter Pilot, an Air Force General, a Globetrotting Traveler, an Airline Captain, an Astronaut and an Airspace Manager. How their world is transformed through the Thales TrUE AI approach, and how our customers, the people who make the world go around, are helped to think smarter, act faster and make critical decisions in an environment where there exists no margin of error because lives are often at stake. 

Why AI combined with optronics is the fighter pilots best digital partner

You are a fighter pilot taking off on a critical strike mission.

The tactical situation on the ground is evolving so quickly that the allied forces requesting fire support are unable to provide the enemy artillery positioning.
But they need help—and fast.
The good news is that you have what you need to do the job. That is because you have the unique combination of targeting and tactical recce pod from Thales with embedded AI.The quasi invisible moving targets that you need to neutralise are now visible – day or night, in color and high resolution and from 7,000 meters high, and your weapons will be guided with the exact precision.

“The new pod designed by Thales is the fighter pilot’s best possible partner aboard” stated  Emmanuel Vialle, a former fighter pilot himself and today Thales product line manager for airborne optronics. “I can act faster and smarter. AI combined to optronics solutions, provides me with an unmatched visible color and infrared image quality, and with real-time data analysis for automatic target detection and recognition”.
So how does this new Thales solution—the pilot’s digital partner—help in real combat?

Let’s go back to that strike mission and hear how Emmanel Vialle explains why Thales capacities makes such a difference.

“Overflying the area of interest, I first use the Permanent Vision which brings me a clear awareness of the environment through the pod’s imagery integrated in a 3D mapping display. As I have no precise ideas of the enemy positions, I start big data collection—taking thousands of pictures in a few minutes”.

“Thanks to the embedded AI, the pod gives me real-time analysis of the optronics images to detect the position of the target vehicles and shows it on my cockpit displays. The data flood is transformed into a series of immediately-actionable sets of information in seconds (compared to hours in the current operations). So, I have a precise global picture of the updated tactical situation”.
“Thanks to connectivity, I immediately share that critical imagery with the support ground forces and with command and control. In response, I am tasked to engage the enemy vehicles that are now positively identified”.

Thales increase the operational effectiveness of forces tenfold by providing them with the ability to analyse changing situations in real time and by providing options for mission reconfiguration. Pilots and command can to do better what is planned and do well despite the unexpected (e. g. seize opportunities, or reconfigure in the event of attrition / adverse manoeuvre).
“Thales new optronic pod is a true breakthrough and there is nothing like it around” Emmanuel Vialle concludes, “When fighter pilots try it for the first time, they say, ‘Wow; it really allows a much better understanding of the tactical situation so we can identify the target in optimal conditions and speed‘”.

Thales leadership in providing this unique critical success factor to fighter missions is the result of fifty years of optronics experience and leading expertise in digital technologies including AI, Big Data and Connectivity.The solution is multi-platform and “plug and fly” for fighter aircraft from a variety of manufacturers. “It is the ‘connected sensor’ that we needed for true connected collaborative combat, to operate and adapt simultaneously”, Emmanuel Vialle further states with a big smile.