The U.S. Navy reportedly plans to use Google’s cloud and machine learning technology alongside drone imagery to improve its process for repairing vessels.
Axios reports that the U.S. Navy plans to use Google’s cloud and machine learning tech along with drone imagery to improve its process for determining which of its vessels and facilities are in need of repair. This development comes as the tech giant faces increased scrutiny from employees and customers over ties to the U.S. military.
In 2018, Google employees protested the company’s government contracts and work with the Pentagon to make military drones more accurate. 31,000 employees signed an open letter insisting that Google end its work on Project Maven, which was described as “a customized AI surveillance engine that uses ‘Wide Area Motion Imagery’ data captured by US Government drones to detect vehicles and other objects, track their motions, and provide results to the Department of Defense.” Google later agreed not to renew the contract.
The company previously refused to bid on the controversial JEDI contract, a Department of Defense cloud computing contract worth $10 billion, stating: “We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn’t be assured that it would align with our AI Principles. And second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications.”
Google Cloud has landed a deal to help the Defense Department detect, protect against, and respond to cyber threats, Axios has learned. The deal, with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), is in the “seven figures,” Google said, declining to be more specific.
Why it matters: It’s a far cry from the controversial $10 billion JEDI deal, but Google hopes the win will lead to a broader deal down the road, as the Pentagon seeks to securely work with multiple public cloud providers.
Google declined to reveal how much the contract was worth but stated that the Navy “currently spends billions per year on maintaining and repairing its fleet of vessels and other platforms like aircraft and facilities.”
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