AI for Automatic Target Identification

AI to be used by French Army to automatically track and identify fixed and moving targets.

08 July 2019
The automatic target identification system could be integrated within the French Army's (Medium-Range Missile/MMP) anti-tank guided missile firing unit (Copyright: MBDA)


The French Army could soon take delivery of an automatic target recognition system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify fixed and moving targets. The system could be integrated into the French Army's Scorpion combat system, as well as the Missile Moyenne Portée (Medium-Range Missile/MMP) anti-tank guided missile firing unit.

The automatic target recognition system, known as 2ACI (Acquisition Automatique de Cibles par Imagerie – automatic target recognition by imaging), was recently awarded the prestigious Ingénieur général Chanson prize for work combining AI and massively parallel processing to develop new real-time target detection, recognition and identification (DRI) technology.

The award was presented to the programme's team, which comprised employees from MBDA and Kalray and staff from the French defence procurement agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA)) and the French Army’s technical section (Section Technique de l’Armée de Terre).

The 2ACI programme allows the detection, recognition and identification of fixed and moving targets through real-time processing of the video stream output from weapon systems' imaging sensors. The technology meets a common functional need across the different services of the French armed forces both for active surveillance and for early warning and engagement of threats. It provides a substantial aid to human operators, giving them more time to confirm a target identification while reducing the overall reaction time of the system.

The programme's work resulted in the production of two demonstrators. The first was installed on a heavy armoured vehicle and was evaluated in operational conditions on a DGA land techniques test site. The second was delivered to DGA information management for a laboratory evaluation. The demonstratorsproved the operational efficiency of the 2ACI function and that it could be integrated in due course to the French Army combat system Scorpion, as well as the MMP firing unit.