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Israel deploys new navy AI in Gaza conflict


An image taken from a place in southern Israel alongside the border with the Gaza Strip on February 9, 2024 reveals an Israeli navy helicopter flying over the border amid persevering with battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Israel’s Army has deployed some AI-enabled navy expertise in fight for the primary time in Gaza, elevating fears about using autonomous weapons in fashionable warfare.

The Army has hinted at what the brand new tech is getting used for, with spokesman Daniel Hagari saying final month that Israel’s forces have been working “above and underground simultaneously”.

A senior defence official advised AFP the tech was destroying enemy drones and mapping Hamas’s huge tunnel community in Gaza.

New defence applied sciences together with synthetic intelligence-powered gunsights and robotic drones kind a vibrant spot in an in any other case dire interval for Israel’s tech trade.

The sector accounted for 18% of GDP in 2022, however the conflict in Gaza has wreaked havoc with an estimated 8% of its workforce known as as much as combat.

“In general the war in Gaza presents threats, but also opportunities to test emerging technologies in the field,” stated Avi Hasson, chief govt of Startup Nation Central, an Israeli tech incubator.

“Both on the battlefield and in the hospitals there are technologies that have been used in this war that have not been used in the past.”

But the rising civilian loss of life toll reveals that a lot higher oversight is required over using new types of defence tech, Mary Wareham, an arms skilled at Human Rights Watch, advised AFP.

“Now we’re facing the worst possible situation of death and suffering that we’re seeing today — some of that is being brought about by the new tech,” she stated.

More than 150 international locations in December backed a UN decision figuring out “serious challenges and concerns” in new navy tech, together with “artificial intelligence and autonomy in weapons systems.”

‘Angry Birds’

Hamas on October 7 launched an unprecedented assault on Israel, ensuing within the deaths of about 1,160 folks in Israel, largely civilians, in accordance with an AFP tally based mostly on official figures.

Hamas additionally seized round 250 hostages, and Israel says some 132 stay in Gaza together with not less than 29 believed to have been killed.

Israel’s navy response has killed almost 28,000 folks in Gaza, largely girls and youngsters, in accordance with the Hamas-ruled territory’s Health Ministry.

Like many different fashionable conflicts, the conflict has been formed by a proliferation of cheap unmanned aerial autos (UAVs), also called drones, which have made assaults from the air simpler and cheaper.

Hamas used them to drop explosives on October 7, whereas Israel has turned to new tech to shoot them down.

In a primary, the military has used an AI-enabled optic sight, made by Israeli startup Smart Shooter, which is connected to weapons reminiscent of rifles and machine weapons.

“It helps our soldiers to intercept drones because Hamas uses a lot of drones,” stated the senior defence official.

“It makes every regular soldier — even a blind soldier — a sniper.”

Another system to neutralise drones includes deploying a pleasant drone with a web that it could throw across the enemy craft to neutralise it.

“It’s drone versus drone — we call it Angry Birds,” the official stated.

Hamas tunnels

A pillar of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to “destroy” Hamas is rapidly mapping the underground tunnel community the place Israel says the group’s fighters are hiding and holding hostages.

The community is so huge that the Army has dubbed it the “Gaza Metro” and a latest examine by U.S. navy academy West Point stated there have been 1,300 tunnels stretching over 500 kilometres (310 miles).

To map the tunnels the military has turned to drones that use AI to be taught to detect people and may function underground, together with one made by Israel startup Robotican that encases a drone inside a robotic case.

It is being utilized in Gaza “to enter into tunnels and to see as far as the communication lets you,” the senior Israeli defence official stated.

Before the conflict the expertise didn’t permit drones to function underground due to points sending photos to the floor, the official added.

The battle has raised human rights issues but additionally cemented Israel’s standing as a world-leading producer of cutting-edge defence methods.

The Wall Street Journal reported final month that the United States — Israel’s foremost worldwide ally and supplier of billions of {dollars} every year in navy help — was coaching its personal troopers to shoot down drones utilizing Smart Shooter’s optic sights.

In late January, three U.S. troopers have been killed in a drone assault on a base in Jordan.

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