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DSTL Pit Stop

Date: 2 March 2017 18:00 - 3 March 2017 17:30

‘How can automation and machine intelligence assist defence intelligence analysis?’ Digital Catapult is running a Pit Stop with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in March 2017. We want to hear from small and medium sized companies, academics and experts interested in developing innovative automation and machine intelligence solutions to assist defence intelligence analysts.


The aim of the Pit Stop is to increase understanding and use of the rapidly developing multidisciplinary field of “autonomous agents” (unsupervised software and devices that undertake analysis on behalf of individuals or groups, without the requirement of human interaction) for operational planning.

Autonomous agents are a combination of a range of technologies and are predicted to become increasingly prevalent across many industries. Simple autonomous agents, such as Siri and Google Now are already available to the public; but as advances are made in the fields of machine intelligence and data science, the functionality of these agents will also increase.

To generate effective intelligence, UK military and security organisations need to process large amounts of data to support, guide and inform personnel in defence and humanitarian efforts, ensuring the right information is given to the right people at the right time.

Efficient data processing and extraction is a vital component of any military mission on land, sea or air. Dstl, in providing Science and Technology support to the defence and security of the UK, wants to use the vast and diverse data sources at its disposal as efficiently and effectively as possible, by exploiting recent advances in autonomy.

What to expect

Through collaboration the Pit Stop will explore how the planning of military operations by human analysts can be informed by autonomous agents, addressing questions such as:

  • How can data analysis reduce the burden of searching and analysing large and varied defence data sets?
  • How can autonomous agents produce actionable intelligence?
  • How can Natural Language Processing and associated fields improve the interface between computers and analysts?
  • What can be done to instill confidence and trust in autonomous agents?
  • Successful proposals submitted after the Pit Stop may lead to Dstl funding contracts with collaborators to further explore and develop their ideas. Dstl has up to £100,000 available to fund further research.

Who should apply?

We want to hear from innovators experienced in developing solutions for autonomous data analysis and interpretation, with expertise in the following areas:

  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine intelligence
  • Big data
  • Automation
  • Predictive analytics
  • Automated planning
  • Autonomous intelligence systems
  • Cognitive science

If you are working in this space and think you can contribute to the development of autonomous agents in defence and security intelligence analysis, please apply for the Pit Stop via our Open Call. Previous experience of working in the defence and security sectors is not necessary.

Date, times and location

The closing date to apply for this Pit Stop is Friday 27 January 2017.

Those interested to take part must complete the Open Call application. Places will be allocated to those with the most appropriate skills, expertise, services and products in line with the Open Call. We aim to respond to all applications within 14 days of the Open Call closing.

The Pit Stop will take place 2 March (6-9pm) and 3 March (9am-5:30pm) at the Digital Catapult Centre in London.

About Dstl

Dstl ensures that innovative science and technology contribute to the defence and security of the UK.

Dstl works mainly with the Ministry of Defence, but because of their expertise and facilities, particularly in the wider area of UK defence and security, they work across government for more than 40 government departments and agencies.

Dstl work with partners in industry, academia and internationally, using science and technology to help solve defence and security issues.

Through partnership with Digital Catapult, Dstl is looking to investigate new and novel ways of undertaking research and procurement. The Pit Stop is one such activity and provides the opportunity to stimulate the supplier base in the fields of automation and machine intelligence.