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French AI firm to process drone footage for automatic threat detection

In Europe
February 27, 2024

SINGAPORE — A French firm that deploys artificial intelligence to observe Chinese and Russian military activity says it is integrating video footage gathered by drones into its algorithms for detecting adversaries’ military movements.

Paris-based Preligens, founded in 2016, offers two AI-based solutions, Robin, an imagery-analysis software, and Xerus, a computer system for military terrain mapping.

The systems work with commercial or government-collected satellite imagery, and they can help analysts determine whether objects of interest are civilian or military.

“It has been primarily designed for site monitoring and has an alerting system that can be set up for the customer for pattern-of-life analysis to cue analysts towards key signals that can identify aircraft, vessels, vehicles, surface-to-air missiles and more,” Coralie Trigano, the company’s senior sales executive for the Asian-Pacific region, told Defense News at the Singapore Airshow here.

The latest improvements made to the firm’s algorithms have included adding new detectable items as well as additional categories of objects that the software can spot.

“We recently developed a helicopter detector, that can now classify and identify precise models, and we have also improved the vehicle detector, which is now capable of detecting and categorizing civil, armored, military and electronics (radars) vehicles,” Sophie Hue, head of communication at Preligens, wrote in an email to Defense News.

Besides adding full-motion video gathered by drones to the mix of data sources, developers are also looking to implement analyses of synthetic-aperture radar images, Hue added.

The influx of the demand and development of drones, driven largely by the Ukraine war, has created a new era in cyber intelligence gathering.

To demonstrate the capabilities of their software, Preligens released its own imagery showing that China was carrying out major military infrastructure work at one of its naval bases in 2022.

The company’s vessel detector also was able to spot Russian air-cushioned landing craft that the country had stationed in the port of Baltiysk, Kaliningrad, in January 2022.

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