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Dstl Turns to BMT and Partners for Autonomy and Big Data Expertise



BMT Defence Services (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, has secured further funding by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), through a themed competition entitled ‘Big Data and Autonomy for defence’.

CDE encouraged companies, both big and small, as well as academia, to put forward innovative proof-of-concept research proposals for innovative component technologies and techniques to acquire, process, visualise and analyse data that can be used to support decision making for both human and autonomous systems. BMT submitted its proposal in partnership with ISIS Innovation Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary and the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford and UK Charity, Rescue Global.

Military personnel are being asked to operate in environments where open source intelligence is abundant. For example, in a Disaster Response Operation, a lot of data is generated via photographs, tweets, news reports etc. With the addition of first responder reports and satellite images of the disaster area, there is a vast amount of relevant and unstructured data available that could help improve situational awareness for the commander in the field. The ability to make the best decision in a short timeframe is therefore dependent on being presented with the right information at the right time, in the correct format.

By combining recent developments in Human-Agent-Collectives, machine learning and data provenance, BMT and its partners will exploit the data generated by a crowd of people with varying levels of ability by speeding up situational awareness and in turn, enhance decision making in the field.

Simon Luck, Head of Information Services and Information Assurance at BMT Defence Services explains: “We have coupled our expert capabilities in big data analytics and agile software development with credible academic and industry partners to provide Dstl with an innovative offering that could change the way information is sourced and confirmed. We’re very excited to be working with Isis Innovation Ltd and UK charity, Rescue Global, a disaster risk reduction and response NGO to demonstrate how crowd sourcing might support future humanitarian aid activities and Disaster Response Operations. We will also look at how this may tie in with our machine learning capabilities to enable the development of a truly intelligent information sourcing system.”

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