DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is developing ways to integrate AI technology into missions.
Leading the charge is Alexis Bonnell. She is the new Chief Information Officer and Director of Digital Capabilities Directorate of the AFRL. She previously worked for Google, and co-founded the Global Development Lab.
“As we look at our national security, part of the question is how do we meet the moment today? But it’s also about how we are ready to meet the moment in the future,” Bonnell explained.
Using technology developed by the AFRL, a XQ-58A Valkryie was successfully test piloted using AI. Bonnell said this is just one of the examples of the AFRL developing new ways to integrate AI technology into its operations.
“AI plays a huge role, not just in helping us develop these types of technologies, but more importantly, actually being able to use them and to augment our capacities for the national security advantage that we need,” Bonnell said.
Bonnell said the technology is not replacing people, but rather making sure they have all the tools and information they need to carry out a mission.
“It might be, quite frankly, just cutting down the toil of what might not be as high value work and making it easier for someone to focus on something that really improves the mission, or could be amazing things like right here, the XQ-58 Valkyrie,” Bonnell said.
It took millions of hours of simulations to train the AI algorithm used for the test flight. Bonnell said it could open up new capabilities for airmen and make their missions safer.
“To be able to take the idea of having one wingman, to being able to have a lot of different capacity at their back, really supporting them. And that’s important because it’s not just about winning the fight. It’s also about making sure that pilot is that much more likely to come home to their family,” Bonnell explained.
Bonnell said a big part of the success of this technology is its development in Dayton, surrounded by aviation innovation. She looks forward to continuing to create programs that keep the country pushing ahead.
“We do not know what’s coming. I think many of us can look back even at the last few years and say, wow, we didn’t see that coming. And that’s just the state of being that we are. And so I think it’s our duty to all American citizens, that they can sleep well at night and that they know that we are bringing the very best technology, to make sure that we can pursue our economic, security, but also the values of what America means around the world,” Bonnell said.