Air Force wants to undertake active shooting games with drones and robots

At Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, airmen with large biceps need to bend carefully. The base is experimenting with a new AI-based gun detection system to stop active shooters before they hurt anyone. ZeroEyes, manufacturer of Drone-Robot Enabled Active Shooter Deterrence (DRASD), says the new technology will allow the ball to roll in a security response to the active shooter much faster than existing systems.

“The end-to-end solution integrates machine learning software with existing software to pre-identify the gun before the first shot is fired. [Internet Protocol] “Security cameras,” the company wrote in a press release. “This creates a very affordable way for security decision makers to radically improve their ability to save lives.”

The mechanism is as follows. ZeroEyes software monitors the same areas that existing base security cameras are monitoring. When the AI ​​detects a person with a gun, it flags the image and sends it to the ZeroEyes Operations Center. The center is staffed 24/7 with specially trained military veterans to accurately assess the situation. “The company’s chief operating officer and co-founder, Rob Huberty, said in a promotional video.

Images captured by AI are displayed on the ZeroEyes operator’s computer screen, with a green box centered around what the software considers to be a gun, the company’s website explains. According to the website, the operator zooms in to see if the AI ​​is correct. This can be done in less than a second. If the AI ​​is wrong, the operator declares it a false positive. But if that’s correct, the operator presses the “Dispatch” button and a smartphone alert is sent to the local security, staff and police, all informing the local 911 call center in 3-5 seconds. ZeroEyes operators will call each party on the alert list to ensure they receive the alert without leaving any problems. All will be completed within 1 minute.

“We also notify our customers when the camera, power, or network goes down,” Huberty said.

One of the highlights of the Ellsworth system is that ZeroEyes not only warns local governments, but also triggers the deployment of “robots and drones” to intercept, slow down, and shoot shooters with non-lethal strobes and treble. Or to confuse. According to the press release, the siren will sound until the first responder arrives. The Ellsworth press release doesn’t provide details about the drone itself, but another release on June 9th will feature Zero Eyes with Asylon Robotics, which develops both a four-legged robot dog and a quadcopter drone for security purposes. The partnership has been announced.

Mike Lahiff, CEO of ZeroEyes, said his company plans to divert shooters by equipping dogs and drones with lights and alarms. .. Drone cameras also provide first responders with real-time threat intelligence, moving ZeroEyes software beyond fixed security cameras. According to the video accompanying the release, the drone is controlled by Asylon’s robot security operator, who appears to be working in its own operations center.

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Of course, bad guys aren’t the only ones with guns at military bases. How does the AI ​​distinguish between active shooters and the average gendarmerie on patrol? Apparently AI is smarter than you would expect. Air Force security forces airmen (the equivalent of military police) can identify whether AI is in a suspended position for firearms and how law enforcement and security forces airmen carry firearms during shifts. I explained. But when the gun isn’t thrown, it’s when the alarm goes up.

“AI software can identify weapons such as shotguns, rifles, and other weapon models,” said Sergeant Staff. In a March press release, Nicholas Murphy, a non-commissioned officer of the 325th Security Forces. “The software (detects) 360-degree visuals of various weapon models in the database, triggers an alarm sent to security forces (which can dispatch responders) to get there as soon as possible in an active shooter situation. increase.”

Active shooter
Computer images show the capabilities of Zero Eyes, a new artificial intelligence software designed to detect and warn of the presence of firearms at the Tindle Air Force Base in Florida on January 28, 2022. (Provided photo)

The 325th is based at the Tindle Air Force Base in Florida and is also experimenting with Zero Eyes. The base was the first to implement the software earlier this year. As of March, the software is still in the testing and evaluation stage, but the system seems to be on track. ZeroEyes announced on June 7 that the Air Force has granted the company a $ 750,000 R & D contract for deployment in Ellsworth. The South Dakota base currently hosts the B-1 bomber and the MQ-9 Drone Ground Control Bureau, but will soon host the Air Force’s next-generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider. It will make its maiden flight in 2023.

Under the contract, Ellsworth will test DRASD for 15 months to ensure that the gun detection software is suitable for the needs of the Air Force.

Loretta Vega, Deputy Director of the 28th Mission Support Group based in Ellsworth, said in a press release:

The system already has a lot of fans among public school districts, police stations, and private companies such as FedEx, Subaru, and Verizon. ZeroEyes has also been designated by the US Department of Homeland Security as a safety law. This means that the ministry believes that the technology is promising enough to be worthy of liability protection so that it can be developed more easily.

If the recent headline is some indicator, the country may use more tools to prevent active shooters from pulling triggers in the future. According to the Washington Post, there were more than 250 mass shootings in the United States in 2022. This includes the deaths of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. One was a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were killed and 3 were injured. On Tuesday, military personnel at the San Antonio Joint Base in Texas continued the blockade after base officials tweeted a warning that they had heard a shot near the base, but the blockade was subsequently lifted. These threats do not seem to spread anywhere in the near future. If Ellsworth’s tests are successful, ZeroEyes may become very popular at more military bases.

“We look forward to working closely with the Air Force to expand into the Air Force market and expand our solutions to the wider Pentagon,” said Rahif.

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