The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected BAE Systems for the development of autonomy modelling software for military planners.

BAE will build the software under a $4.2m Phase I contract awarded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The Causal Exploration of Complex Operational Environments programme has been designed to develop technology to model different political, territorial, and economic tensions that might lead to conflicts, enabling military planners to assess and avoid unexpected outcomes.

BAE Systems’ innovative ‘Causal Modeling for Knowledge Transfer, Exploration, and Temporal Simulation’ (CONTEXTS) software will allow military planners to easily and quickly achieve an overall understanding of conflict situations even in complicated operational environments.

“CONTEXTS will use reasoning algorithms and simulations to give planners a quicker and deeper understanding of conflicts to help avoid unexpected and counterintuitive outcomes.”

The autonomy modelling software is being designed to create an interactive model of an operational environment, which will enable planners to explore the causes of a conflict and evaluate potential approaches.

BAE Systems autonomy, controls and estimation group product line director Chris Eisenbies said: “Military planners often conduct manual research and use limited modelling tools to generate models and evaluate conflict situations, which are extremely time-consuming and labour-intensive.

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“To break down these barriers, CONTEXTS will use reasoning algorithms and simulations with the goal to give planners a quicker and deeper understanding of conflicts to help avoid unexpected and counterintuitive outcomes.”

Being developed by BAE Systems’ research and development team, CONTEXTS is created based on the autonomy technology portfolio of the company.

Work on the project is being carried out at the company’s facilities in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia in the US.