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U.S. Navy, Qualcomm strike deal to research 5G, AI and more

Qualcomm Technologies and the Naval Postgraduate School recently partnered to explore 5G, AI and cloud computing, C4ISRNET reports. The collaboration’s goal is to inform the Navy and Marine Corps’ digital pursuits and simultaneously engage faculty and students with the private sector’s top scientists and engineers.

“The core of warfighter development at NPS is preparing leaders to solve complex problems,” said school president retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau. “This cooperative effort between NPS and Qualcomm Technologies is a great opportunity for our warrior-scholar students and defense-expert faculty to experiment with the latest 5G-enabled technologies and collaboratively explore innovative solutions to the issues faced by our Navy and Marine Corps.”

A cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) facilitated this partnership, according to C4ISRNET. A CRADA allows the U.S. government to engage non-federal organizations, like Qualcomm. The wireless company is one of the latest to team up with the Naval Postgraduate School; the Navy also signed an agreement with Microsoft in May to get an early look at its newest tools.

Focus areas of this new deal reflect the military’s plans to spend billions of dollars on reliable connectivity and computer augmented decision-making, C4ISRNET reports. The spending comes as the U.S. focuses more on tech-savvy nations such as Russia and China. At least one Navy official has deemed 5G as a “great enabler” that’s “more, better, faster.” Fifth-generation wireless tech is expected to offer faster speeds and more bandwidth, which could improve logistics ashore and networking at sea.

Additionally, service officials are turning to AI and autonomy. As an example, Task Force 59 finished a three-week event dedicated to unmanned systems in Bahrain in December.

The Navy is ‘creating a culture that nurtures innovation and drives our competitive advantage,” services chief information officer Aaron Weis said. “(The NPS-Qualcomm partnership is) another step in the right direction and will identify promising emerging commercial technologies so we can rapidly adopt them for full-scale implementation.”

The joint research deal will also include establishing an innovation lab at the Naval Postgraduate School campus in Monterey, CA, C4ISRNET reports. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro in December hinted that another innovation center could be created. It would concentrate on, “the truly transformational technology that we need, not just two years, five years down the road, but 10, 15 years down the road,” he said.

AI and machine learning were among the initial areas of interest, Del Toro added.

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