AFC hosts Pittsburgh Technology Terrain Walk for Army leaders

By Courtney Chapman, Army Artificial Intelligence Integration CenterJune 30, 2022

Lt. Gen. James M. Richardson with Army senior leaders at Pittsburgh's Station Square.
Lt. Gen. James M. Richardson with Army senior leaders at Pittsburgh's Station Square backdropped by the city's skyline during the AFC Tech Terrain Walk. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo illustration by Capt. Nicholas Park; image adjusted to remove string lights) VIEW ORIGINAL

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Industry, academia and military came together last week for Army Modernization Enterprise officials to explore current and emerging technologies and use findings to better inform requirements documents.

Army Futures Command hosted a Technology Terrain Walk June 22-24, an in-depth tech familiarization engagement in Pittsburgh, home to the Army Artificial Intelligence Integration Center, one of AFC’s dedicated modernization incubators.

The three-day event began with remarks from Brig. Gen. Patrick Gaydon, who set the stage by saying that desired outcomes of the event included team-building, taking advantage of having all AFC directors in the same room and “create[ing] great opportunities for networking and dialogue.” He continued on to state the event’s primary goal.

“[The AFC Tech Terrain Walk] is all about exposing [Army leaders] to the current and emerging technologies, looking at what the art of the possible is. It’s all about the end state to better inform concepts for how the Army will operate in the future and better inform requirements documents for the equipment that our Soldiers will need in the future.”

Additionally, the opening plenary framed the days ahead with presentations about the history of Pittsburgh, future of AI and technology culture from speakers Bill Flanagan, Andrew Moore and Scott Stapp, respectively.

Over the first two days, participants rotated through sessions with over 25 industry and academic presenters in small groups, allowing them to touch the technology and have meaningful discussion with the presenters in the areas of autonomy and robotics, data engineering, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and energy.

The final day focused on in-depth concepts and requirements discussions based on event findings, with the goal of producing post-event action items.

On Friday, participants also heard remarks from Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University. President Jahanian emphasized the importance of collaboration and the positive outcomes of the DoD and CMU relationship over the past century, highlighting the recent success of CMU’s partnership with Artificial Intelligence Integration Center on their AI Scholars, AI Technician and Data-Driven Leadership courses. His remarks harkened back to what Lt. Gen. James M. Richardson, Acting Commanding General of Army Futures Command, said earlier in the week:

“The Army doesn’t grow on its own. It takes industry, it takes academia, it takes the military — everyone working together — to equip the Army that we have for the future.”