“Artificial intelligence can outperform humans in designing futuristic weapons…”
A group of Chinese researchers from the Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan, China, used artificial intelligence (AI) to develop the world’s smallest and most powerful coilgun. The coilgun, which is about the size of a pistol with a 4.5-inch barrel, contains three battery-powered coils that generate an electromagnetic field. As described in the following excerpts, published in Hong Kong-based English-language daily South China Morning Post, the kinetic energy of the bullet flying through the barrel has more than twice the energy needed to fire a fatal shot. The researchers claim the weapon is ideal for counterterrorism and stability operations. The advantage of the coilgun over a conventional gun is its “adjustable speed and very short response time.”
AI is playing a key role in developing China’s electromagnetic weapons. The article describes the coilgun as more sophisticated than a typical firearm and too complex for traditional weapons software to handle. AI, however, can continuously improve an imperfect design through self-learning. According to the article, “it would have been impossible to achieve this level of performance without using AI in the design process.” Chinese researchers have also been using AI to develop large-scale electromagnetic weapons, such as railguns, which have a range of “hundreds of kilometers.” The Chinese navy now has a test facility in which AI is used to develop smart railgun munitions capable of enduring extremely high pressure and intense magnetic fields.
Stephen Chen, “Chinese Researchers Turn to Artificial Intelligence To Build Futuristic Weapons,” South China Morning Post (Hong Kong’s most prominent online English-language daily), 5 December 2021, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3158522/chinese-researchers-turn-artificial-intelligence-build.
Artificial intelligence can outperform humans in designing futuristic weapons, according to a team of Chinese naval researchers who say they have developed the world’s smallest yet most powerful coilgun.
The prototype weapon developed by professor Zhang Xiao and her team at the Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan has a 12cm (4.5-inch) barrel, about the size of a pistol, which contains three battery-powered coils that generate an electromagnetic field.
This electromagnetic field means that, unlike a conventional gun, the bullet does not touch the sides as it passes through the barrel.
Researchers found the bullet’s kinetic energy as it was could reach almost 150 joules, more than twice the energy needed to fire a fatal shot.
The bullet speed can vary depending on factors such as size and weight, and the scientists said one of the major advantages of using a coil gun was that, unlike a conventional gun, it could be adjusted to fire deadly shots or non-lethal ones.
In a paper published in the Transactions of the China Electrotechnical Society last month, Zhang said the gun had the advantage of “adjustable speed and a very short response time”, adding that it had great potential to be used for counterterrorism and maintaining stability.
The researchers say it would have been impossible to achieve this level of performance without using AI in the design process.