Team RMA wins the NATO Innovation Challenge

  • December 16, 2020

A multi-disciplinary and multi-departmental team of RMA researchers and the Belgian Navy has won the NATO Innovation Challenge. The team consists of Daniela Doroftei (MECA), Frik Vanderstraeten (ex-SSOC), Michaël Dewyn (FILO), Salvatore Lo Bue (PSPS), Geert De Cubber (MECA) and Tom De Vleeschauwer (COMPOSNAV).

The purpose of the NATO Innovation Challenge is to find more effective and efficient ways for NATO, and other response organizations, to ensure security and respond to crises. This time, the NATO innovation challenge revolved around the subject of “Trust in autonomous systems”. This challenge seeks to identify ways to improve decision-maker and operator trust when deploying autonomous systems, and de-risk their adoption. The example scenario for this challenge consists of a maritime mine countermeasures operations using autonomous systems. Candidates were asked to propose solutions to address the concerns of leadership and operators and de-risk the use of these systems, thereby encouraging the adoption of autonomous systems at their full capacity, with no more human involvement than what is required by the system.

The RMA team proposal revolves around the Belgian-Dutch MCM concept and proposes to incorporate and evaluate the three main aspects of the human-agent trust-triangle (reliable performance, understanding of system processes and the match between the use of the system and its purpose), including the socio-ethical dimension, within a novel techno-social digital twin concept. This has as an advantage that the human-agent trust can be established pre-deployment in an off-line way on a virtual system and that it can be readily transferred to a real system deployment in a very short time.

Eighty proposals were submitted, among which an international jury selected 10 finalists. On December 10, there was be an online pitch day and award ceremony, where the 10 finalists presented their solution to the NATO Innovation Hub Advisory Board during an event that was streamed live on YouTube. At the end of this event, General Poul Primdahl of the NATO Allied Command Transformation announced Team RMA as the overall winners of the $5,000 monetary prize.

More information

YouTube stream of the event with the RMA presentation @55:15 and the winning announcement @ 3:20:45