China, under Xi Jinping, has prioritized Artificial Intelligence in its goal to become a strong force. The dual-use aspect of AI—that is, its application for both civilian and military purposes—underpins Beijing’s interest in its development and application. As a result, while AI advances can benefit China’s economy and healthcare, it can also help the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by allowing it to engage in “intelligent warfare.”
According to a group of Chinese naval experts who claim to have invented the world’s tiniest yet most powerful coilgun, South China Morning Post reported, artificial intelligence can outperform humans when it comes to inventing futuristic weapons.
Professor Zhang Xiao and her colleagues at the Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan produced a prototype weapon with a 12cm (4.5-inch) barrel that incorporates three battery-powered coils that generate an electromagnetic field.
Because of the electromagnetic field, the bullet does not touch the sides of the barrel as it passes through it, unlike a traditional pistol.
The kinetic energy of the bullet as it was discovered by researchers could reach around 150 joules, more than twice the energy required to deliver a fatal shot.
The speed of the bullet varies based on elements including size and weight, and the scientists claim that one of the biggest benefits of employing a coil gun is that, unlike a traditional pistol, it can be altered to shoot lethal or non-fatal bullets.
The GR-1 “Anvil,” a US$3,750 rifle released earlier this year by Los Angeles-based business Arcflash Labs and available for pre-order on the commercial market, is currently the most powerful portable coilgun. According to the company’s website, it can produce 85 joules of muzzle energy, which is comparable to a big airgun.
According to the study, the first model built by Zhang’s team was similar to the American product. However, after incorporating AI into the design, the weapon’s performance skyrocketed.
According to the researchers, designing an electromagnetic weapon was tough because it was more complicated than a regular rifle.
Earlier, in April 2020, a US based think tank Brookings Institute also highlighted this and wrote that The Chinese military and defence sector have been investing heavily in robots, swarming, and other artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning applications (ML).