Do you have a bold idea that might help the Department of the Navy (DoN) address some of its biggest challenges involving unmanned capabilities? Then sign up to participate in the HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned competition, which will be held virtually on Nov. 16-19. Register at https://register.hackthemachine.ai/.

HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned is the first in a series of public-facing technology challenges aimed at accelerating discovery and teambuilding between the DoN, industry and academia for the creation of groundbreaking unmanned and autonomous systems.

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), multiple naval program executive offices, and industry partners like Fathom5 and Booz Allen Hamilton, HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned builds on efforts by the Navy’s 2021 Unmanned Task Force to develop and integrate unmanned and autonomous technology at scale. Organizers are looking for military and civilian participants from all walks of life to solve digital, data and cyber problems; win up to $90,000 in prize money; earn contracts; and be dynamic, innovative parts of the DoN team.

“Within the realm of unmanned and autonomous capabilities, ONR’s goal is to promote agility and find new solutions to warfighter problems,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby, who will be one of the featured speakers. “HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned will further position ONR as the hub of that innovation wheel—and educate folks who don’t normally work with the Navy about the types of challenges we’re facing.”

NavalX, an extension of ONR, enables collaboration, the pace of discovery, learning and experimentation, and fosters the naval workforce’s capacity for innovation and agility. It gives Sailors, Marines and DoN civilians valuable tools for solving problems and translating ideas into actionable solutions.

This helps naval organizations like ONR to better serve warfighter needs by connecting individuals promoting innovative ideas with experts who can experiment with those ideas, invest in them or help turn them into something tangible for the Navy and Marine Corps.

HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned will showcase three challenge tracks to appeal to a broad range of talents and skill sets:

—Maritime Cyber—Test the security of the Navy’s next-generation unmanned drone swarm autopilot systems in this bug bounty contest.

—Data Science—Bring useful, battle-tested machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to the Navy by developing methods to sort good data from dangerous data in degraded environments.

—Digital Engineering—Show the Navy how to create model-based definitions of requirements for wide-area search that can be tested against real system models in unmanned mission simulations.

“ONR is leading the search for creative, bright, team-building collaborators and learners who know how to hustle and get things done," said Dr. Jason Stack, ONR's director for Ocean, Atmosphere and Space Research, and chair of the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Strategy Development Team.

“HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned will enable naval leaders to connect with a new generation of technology talent from across the spectrum of the digital community,” Stack continued. “The virtual setting of this challenge provides an opportunity to rapidly surface new ideas and approaches, along with the formation of new partnerships.”

Those wishing to compete in HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned can sign up as teams or as individuals. Learn more at https://www.hackthemachine.ai/.

Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.


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