The US Air Force (USAF) has entered a research partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to advance the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

Research will focus on different aspects, including computational intelligence, reasoning, decision-making, autonomy and relevant societal implications.

Under the agreement, 11 USAF airmen will be picked to work in a research and development collaboration team that is intended to deploy practical AI solutions for ‘real-world, national security challenges’.

USAF personnel will work with MIT researchers starting later this year.

USAF Heather Wilson Secretary said: “MIT is a leading institution for AI research, education and application, making this a huge opportunity for the airforce as we deepen and expand our scientific and technical enterprise. Drawing from one of the best of American research universities is vital.”

The research team will work on multiple AI projects such as decision support, maintenance and logistics, talent management, medical readiness, situational awareness, business operations and disaster relief.

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MIT research vice-president Maria Zuber said: “This collaboration is very much in line with MIT’s core value of service to the nation. MIT researchers who choose to participate will bring state-of-the-art expertise in AI to advance airforce mission areas and help train airforce personnel in applications of AI.”

“USAF personnel will work with MIT researchers starting later this year.”

The partnership with MIT will see the USAF invest approximately $15m per year.

The USAF intends to make use of the expertise and knowledge of universities across the nation to drive innovation as part of its science and technology strategy.

Separately, the service and the University of Florida launched a centre of excellence dedicated to ‘assured autonomy in contested environments’.

The focus will be on basic research for assured and trustworthy autonomy of the USAF’s future cyber-physical systems operating in disputed settings.