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Thales Media Day: Thales speeds up its development of AI for defence

Human-centred artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming ever more important, not only in our day lives-to-day lives, but also in critical environments such as military theatres of operation and aerospace. 

Thales is a major AI player in these complex environments. The company is Europe’s top patent applicant in the field, and devotes a lot of effort to research on AI, both in-house and through academic and industry partnerships.

Artificial intelligence as seen by Thales is human-centric, a trusted AI built on clear principles: it is secure, trusted, transparent, explainable and ethical. 

cortAIx, AI accelerator

On 28 March 2024, Thales dedicated the fourth edition of its Media Day to the use of AI in critical environments.

On this occasion, Patrice Caine unveiled the media announcement of the creation of cortAIx, which brings together Thales’s artificial intelligence capabilities in the fields of research, sensors and systems.

With cortAIx, Thales is equipping itself with major AI capabilities, which meet the security and sovereignty needs of its customers.

Patrice Caine Chairman and CEO of Thales

cortAIx is a veritable accelerator for trusted AI, dedicated to equipping armed forces, aircraft manufacturers and all critical infrastructure operators with highly secure solutions, to provide them with more efficient data analysis and decision support, whilst taking into account specific constraints such as cybersecurity, embeddability and frugality that are related to critical environments.


The use of AI in critical systems

From intelligence gathering and data processing to decision support and mission planning, artificial intelligence has become a vital element in complex environments such as military theatres of operation and air traffic. 

Below are some examples of how AI is used.

AI at the heart of the Rafale’s optronics system

Thanks to an embedded AI system and a neural processor developed by Thales, the images captured in flight by the Talios pod found on board Dassault Aviation’s Rafale fighter can be analysed in real time, and a hundred times faster than with the current manual search system.

Arnaud Beche, an expert in image processing, explains.

Combining performance and reliability thanks to AI

Combining optimum performance and maximum reliability is a challenge, but it is one that AI is able to meet, as Patricia Besson, Head of Thales Research & Technology’s Reasoning and Analysis in Complex Systems Lab points out.

Provided that major research efforts are made both internally and externally to develop this trusted AI.

AI in mission planning

AI on board a helicopter or fighter aircraft cockpit can alleviate pilots’ mental workload by helping to define the best trajectory, according to the objectives of the mission and taking into account the numerous constraints that can arise at any time during its execution.

Military avionics expert Thierry Ferreira explains how.

AI serving air defence

In skies that are ever more crowded, due in particular to the increase in the number of drones, the use of artificial intelligence can simplify radar operators’ job and their decision-making.

Rami Kassab, an AI expert in the radar field, explains how it does so.

Managing multi-drone and multi-robot systems thanks to AI

We are seeing a proliferation of drones and robots in theatres of operation. How can we get operators to manage not just one drones, but dozens of drones at the same time?

Florence Aligne, head of the Decision and Optimisation laboratory at Thales Research & Technology has the answer.

Contribution of AI to maritime patrol aircraft

Our oceans are vital to world trade, but they have once more become zones of conflict. Hence the importance of maritime patrol missions.

In the face of the amount of data gathered by radars systems that are ever more sophisticated, artificial intelligence is playing a crucial role, as radar systems architect Nicolas Léger explains.

Partner testimonials

Trusted AI cannot be built by one single player.

Thales, in addition to the in-house research it carries out, also works with academic and industry partners within joint laboratories such as Sinclair, the first joint industry lab on artificial intelligence, and on programmes such as (, to build the secure, reliable, transparent, explainable and ethical AI that we need.  

Testimonial from Bernard Salha, Research and Development Director, EDF

EDF is a member of the Sinclair joint industry lab on trusted AI, alongside Total Energie and Thales.

Testimonial from Guillaume Avrin, National coordinator for artificial intelligence

Guillaume Avrin is in charge of the national strategy on AI, and as such, he supervises the ( programme on trusted AI engineering for incorporation in critical systems.

AI we can all trust – especially at decisive moments

The critical systems developed by Thales call for the very highest levels of reliability, which is why trusted AI is crucial.