Soar Technology, Inc. (SoarTech) has been awarded a contract to support the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program. SoarTech will be developing Air Combat Evolution – Trust and Reliability in User-System Teaming (ACE-TRUST) in response to ACE’s technical area two. Collin Aerospace, United Technologies Research Center, and University of Iowa Operator Performance Laboratory will be supporting SoarTech on this program.

As a whole, the ACE program seeks to address and increase operator trust in combat autonomy in a complex, human-machine collaboration environment coined “mosaic warfare.” Using human-machine dogfighting as its entry challenge problem, ACE aims to extend human operator capabilities by assigning the human the high-level, cognitive role of mosaic system mission commander and allowing the unmanned systems to engage the lower-level, individual tactics. The ACE program has been segmented into four technical areas (TAs) that feed into one another and will scale appropriately through each phase, starting with modeling and simulation demonstrations, moving onto unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and ending on an operationally representative, full-scale aircraft.

SoarTech will develop a user interface (UI) to enable the pilot to perform a supervisory mission commander task, but the main focus of ACE-TRUST is on the pilot’s trust of the dogfight autonomy. For this, SoarTech will develop a UI and cognitive reasoning technology aimed at facilitating and calibrating pilot trust in the autonomy. Through pilot interactions with the system and from physiological data, ACE-TRUST will measure the pilot’s trust, assess that trust against the capabilities of the autonomy, and work deliberately to calibrate the pilot’s trust appropriately to the capabilities of the dogfighting algorithms. The architecture of the mission commander simulation will be provided by the performers of TA3—Scale Performance and Trust to Global Behaviors.

“From SoarTech’s beginning, we’ve thrived in applying artificial intelligence to hard problems within the military,” said Andrew Dallas, Vice President of SoarTech’s Autonomous Platforms. “ACE-TRUST builds on SoarTech’s twenty-plus years of expertise in adaptive, intelligent human-machine interfaces. What has made us successful in the past, and what continues to be our success today, is our AI. We are able to replicate the way humans function; we allow operators to interface with the AI in natural, human-like terms; and we provide an environment to share knowledge so that when an AI and human interact, they have a common grounding.”