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Japan to Establish Defense R&D Centre with Focus on AI

Japan's Defense Ministry has announced plans to establish a technology research centre this autumn. Focus on developing AI applications and autonomous vehicles for defence purposes. Researching new methods for submarine detection using subatomic particles and electromagnetic waves.

Japan Defense R&D
Credit: Nikkei Asia

The centre aims to develop applications for cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous vehicles, with a focus on cooperation with the private sector. Inspired by similar initiatives in the United States, the centre will tap into the expertise of private companies and academia to drive innovation in the defence sector.


One of the key areas of research for the centre will be the development of autonomous vehicles capable of operating in complete darkness. By leveraging AI and image recognition technology, the centre aims to overcome the limitations of current self-driving capabilities, which are not designed for low-light conditions. This advancement could have significant implications for defence operations, particularly in scenarios where visibility is limited.


Additionally, the centre will focus on enhancing submarine detection capabilities. Traditional sonar systems have become less effective due to technological advancements that have made submarines quieter. To address this challenge, the centre will explore new methods using subatomic particles and electromagnetic waves to detect submarines from a distance. This research could potentially revolutionise submarine detection and bolster Japan's maritime security.


To foster rapid innovation, the centre will introduce a program to subsidise research conducted by private companies. The success of subsidised projects will be evaluated within a maximum of three years, and companies will not be required to repay the funds if a project fails. This initiative aims to encourage businesses to take risks and drive technological advancements without the fear of financial repercussions.


The research centre will employ approximately 100 individuals, with half of the staff coming from private companies and academia. Ten program managers will be responsible for designing and overseeing projects. The centre's structure will be modelled after renowned institutions such as the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Defense Innovation Unit based in Silicon Valley. This approach will ensure a collaborative and innovative environment conducive to breakthrough technologies and civilian applications for defence purposes.


Japan's decision to establish this defence R&D centre aligns with its broader military buildup plans. The country recognises the importance of bolstering its defence technology base to effectively compete with China's People's Liberation Army, which has been actively integrating dual-use technologies like AI and quantum computing.

 
  • Japan's Defense Ministry has announced plans to establish a technology research centre this autumn. 

  • Focus on developing AI applications and autonomous vehicles for defence purposes

  • Researching new methods for submarine detection using subatomic particles and electromagnetic waves


Source: Nikkei Asia



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