Applications and Implementation of Artificial Intelligence in the Military

Ney, Taylor, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Barnes, Adam, EN-Elec & Comp Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Francisco, Pedro Augusto, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

This past year, I researched two topics through different lenses of engineering. The first
topic I looked at was how AI will be used by the United States for military purposes. This
involved looking at the technology and development of AI from a larger, more societal
perspective. I selected the topic of AI in the military because AI is a very powerful tool that, if
integrated correctly could help the military drastically. I am interested in how the US is currently
viewing AI and working to integrate it into its military. The second topic I researched was how
vehicle hitches function and how they can be improved by a device that moves the hitch itself
laterally to alter the angle between the truck and the trailer. The goal of this project is to change
the truck-trailer angle to mitigate trailer sway and aid in trailer maneuverability. This project
involved looking at very specific aspects of engineering such as how to maintain a system with
multiple voltage levels and implementing electrical communication between a sensor, actuator,
and microcontroller. Both research areas tackle different fields and require a different
perspective. Going forward, I will be able to combine the experience and perspectives required
for both projects and bring that into my future work.
My technical research paper works to address the issue of trailer sway and the difficulty
of trailer maneuverability. Trailer sway, or fishtailing occurs when the force of lateral momentum
exceeds the friction of the rear tires. The magnitude of trailer oscillation often grows rapidly it
can become very dangerous for vehicles on the road. For both new and experienced drivers,
maneuvering a trailer, especially in reverse, can be a challenge. Due to the hitch position, drivers
often find themselves “jackknifing” where they end up hitting the side of their vehicle with the
trailer. Our device changes the lateral position of the hitch when needed to address both of these
We went about solving this problem through first analyzing the physics of each situation
and determining how much force was needed to alter the trailer-truck angle through moving the
hitch position. We then implemented a design where the device is a physical hitch extender with
the ability to move on a lateral rail. It uses an angle sensor to communicate with a
microcontroller and linear actuator to move the hitch. Power is taken directly from the truck’s
seven pin output and stepped down and filtered to the appropriate voltage for each subsystem. As
of now, we are still in the testing and integration phase of development. Due to the safety risks of
testing trailer sway, we developed simulations to show the effectiveness of the device.
The research question of my STS research report is how the US government will
implement AI into its military. My methodology behind the paper involved actor-network-theory
where I analyzed the developers of the AI technology, its users, the regulators, those indirectly
impacted by the technology.
I concluded that AI is a very promising tool to the military as it provides an information
and decision-making advantage. The US government is making a push to get tools into the field
as fast as possible though implementing an iterative process where feedback from real-world
experience is put into the next design. Despite how promising AI tools are, it needs to be
understood that they will not be the answer to every problem. Right now we are still figuring out
what aspects of the military can benefit from specific AI tools

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Artificial Intelligence, Military Technology, AI and the US Government

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Batchelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Adam Barnes
STS Advisor: Pedro Francisco
Technical Team Members: Taylor Ney, Cole Blackman, John Skiles, Shrisha Yapalparvi

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