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Nations are targeting AI and big data as key enabling technologies for future military capabilities. Two major French technology companies are joining forces in an effort to become the European nation’s premier institution for artificial intelligence and big-data efforts. Thales and Atos are establishing a joint venture called Athea in an attempt to develop a flagship, sovereign, big-data and AI platform that could serve customers in the public and private sector.
“With the exponential rise in the number of sources of information, and increased pressure to respond more quickly to potential issues, state agencies need to manage ever-greater volumes of heterogeneous data and accelerate the development of new AI applications where security and sovereignty are key,” the companies said in a news release.
Athea will draw on each company’s work on Project Artemis — meant to provide the French military with a big-data processing capability — to build a system that securely handles sensitive data on “a nationwide scale” and that will also support the solution’s implementation within government programs.
Both Atos and Thales have worked on the demonstration phase for Artemis, awarded in 2017, and both were chosen in April to prepare the full-scale rollout of the program by the French military procurement agency DGA.
Athea will initially focus on the French market before addressing European requirements “at a later date,” the companies said. This indicates that the joint venture will not affect ongoing multinational projects, such as Thales’ work on the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System or NATO’s deployable combat cloud program, according to defensenews.com.