No-Code Computer Vision and the New Space Race
by Adam Pease
On Wednesday, February 16th, the Space Vehicles Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced a partnership with computer vision provider CrowdAI, which provides no-code environments for developing computer vision applications. The partnership puts the AI provider in close contact with emerging research in the Air Force and with Department of Defense military exercise processes like the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This blog discusses the announcement and what it may mean for the wider adoption of computer vision.
No-Code Computer Vision: The Barrier of Entry Has Never Been Lower
CrowdAI sets itself apart from the computer vision market with its emphasis on democratizing data science through no-code processes. Last year, Aragon predicted that citizen developers would become an increasingly pivotal element of modern enterprise workforces, and this announcement suggests that the power of no-code is receiving more recognition.
Last year, the startup raised $6.5M in its A round, catching the eyes of investors with its no-code approach, which emphasizes the ability of users to build their own models without technical expertise. Instead, the platform is designed to empower experts in a specific subject matter area to leverage their knowledge to build AI models that can solve problems without requiring a dedicated data scientist.
Computer Vision Goes to Space
The new partnership will be focused especially on space vehicles and data processes from low earth orbit (LEO) and below. CrowdAI has stated that its product is sensor-agnostic and capable of processing any data descending from LEO. Its toolset is designed to be flexible across different types of data and cameras, a feature that naturally suits it to adapt to different combat situations.
It is not difficult to imagine the power computer vision could bring to low earth orbit monitoring. Already, computer vision is used extensively for targeting systems in global militaries, but the next step will be implementing surveillance systems that are both large-spectrum and highly detailed. Beyond air, these developments tie into the race for dominance of low earth orbit. This nascent space race is underway as nations vie to place satellites into this region of the atmosphere.
Since the beginning of the 20th century nations have competed over the air. Modern wars are lost or won in the air, with competition over the design of planes giving way to competition over avionics and surveillance devices. Now, computer vision and reliable, full-spectrum, fine-grained recognition and analysis of the battlespace—or what some have called ‘information dominance’—is the new frontier of air power. As more nations around the world recognize the race to attain this new form of air superiority, partnerships such as this one will increase in scope and regularity.
AI will become an indispensable element of future warfighting and military planning. Now, we are seeing the rise of partnerships like this one between CrowdAI and the AFRL as no-code tools lower the barrier of entry for experimenting with computer vision substantially. Government contracts will continue to accelerate innovation in the market, and we expect that more enterprises will experiment with no-code solutions as well when they recognize the power these tools have to address high-stakes situations.