Thales: AI-assisted optronics, an unprecedented European project to increase combat perception capabilities

25 Apr 2024 – The European Commission signed the Grant Agreement for the launch of the STORE (Shared daTabase for Optronics image Recognition and Evaluation) collaborative research project, coordinated by Thales and funded by the EDF (European Defence Fund).

Bringing together a consortium of 20 partners (manufacturers, SMEs and academics) from 8 EU Member States and Norway, this project aims to build a shared image database secured by most advanced technology and to develop and evaluate artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms dedicated to data analysis of ground platform imaging systems.

This project will contribute to the automatic management and tactical analysis of information in land combat situations, thanks to technological innovation in deep learning of optronic data.

To address a complex and constantly changing threat environment, the European Defence Fund is supporting the European Union’s STORE collaborative project to accelerate the introduction of AI and associated shared database in the imaging systems for land forces.

As threats become increasingly sophisticated (hypersonic missiles, combat drones, drone swarms, etc), optronic sensors are more strategically important than ever and need to deliver the highest levels of performance in the field.

STORE will lay the foundations for Europe’s first shared, scalable database of defence imagery and explore different algorithm solutions for threats detection. In particular, it will address issues of data governance and the cost-effective development of sovereign technologies.The STORE project, by combining optronic sensors with AI-based analysis techniques, will set-up future functionalities related to augment war fighters’ perception of the battlefield, enhancing their tactical situational awareness, shortening the decision loop to accelerate reaction times and, consequently, improve survivability.

“We are proud that the EDF is financing this project which entrusts Thales as project lead and coordinator of this network of partners, European industrial and technological jewels. We will leverage all of our experience and expertise in optronics and artificial intelligence to offer high perception capacities, providing decisive tactic superiority on battlefields.” Benoît Plantier, Vice-president of Optronics and Missile Electronics activity, Thales.

The publication was funded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Thales and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Image courtesy Thales