Air defense against Russian attacks has been one of the biggest problems for Ukraine in the recent past. A small Ukrainian start-up now wants to solve this problem with artificial intelligence.
Russia fires on Ukrainian territory almost every day. Repelling Russian air raids has been one of the biggest problems for the Ukrainians in the recent past. The Ukrainian air defense system was in urgent need of reinforcements.
In addition to the Western arms deliveries, a small Ukrainian start-up is now also supposed to strengthen the air defense – the Ukrainians are relying on artificial intelligence. The “Zvook” project, Ukrainian name for “noise”, aims to detect Russian missiles in the airspace. A new secret weapon for the Ukrainians?
40 Zvook systems are already in use in Ukraine: the system detects cruise missiles, helicopters, drones and combat aircraft at low and medium altitudes by evaluating acoustic signals.
Zvook quickly proved its effectiveness: after the first system had been in operation for four hours, it discovered the first Russian rocket in the sky, according to the Handelsblatt.
But how does the Ukrainian air defense system actually work? The facility informs air defense of the missile’s timing and location, which ultimately allows calculation of the intercept route, Zvook co-founder Dmytro Bielievtsov explains to the world.
So when Zvook receives a sound, it is focused and transmitted to a protected network for further processing. The sound is finally recognized and classified by the neural network. The intelligent system then analyzes whether an air object is within a specified area – this ultimately calculates the interception trajectory.
The particular advantage of the system is the ability of the algorithm to learn: Zvook systematically collects information for every Russian attack, which makes it possible to find errors in the network. According to Die Welt, the system becomes more successful with every use.
Currently, the Zvook systems are mainly used in the so-called “dead zones”, where stationary air defense devices do not work.
The idea of using artificial intelligence and acoustics for air defense arose from the desire to help the country in some way, co-founder Bielievtsov reports to the world. At the beginning of the war, footage made it clear that Ukraine’s radar capabilities were insufficient to cover air defenses – and that’s exactly where they wanted to start.
From this idea, Bielievtsov and his team, together with tech entrepreneur Pavlo Tsiupka and fighters of the 125th Territorial Defense Brigade, developed the “Zvook” project. In the meantime, other experts from the fields of IT, telecommunications and the military have joined – because a large amount of data is required to develop an artificial neural network that can recognize and classify noises.
Nevertheless, the 40 systems would not be sufficient to protect the infrastructure and the population optimally, according to Bielievtsov. He anticipates that Ukraine will need hundreds more systems. However, this could take a while as the funding is still being reviewed by the Ukrainian authorities, according to the report.
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