On a trip to Silicon Valley last year, Defense Secretary James Mattis openly envied tech companies’ superior use of artificial intelligence technology.
To help close the gap, one Pentagon unit is now offering $100,000 in prizes to develop algorithms that can interpret high-resolution satellite images.
The contest is called the xView Detection Challenge, and starts next month.
Entrants will use a trove of hand-annotated satellite images released by the Pentagon to train algorithms to identify details relevant to disaster relief or humanitarian missions.
Objects of interest include damaged buildings, utility trucks, and fishing boats.
The project is being run by DIUx, an organization started by former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to make it easier for his department to work with technology companies, particularly startups.