Sandia LabNews

Sandia partners with Alabama A&M to open AI cage

Image of ai-cage
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS — START HBCU partners, Alabama A&M University faculty and students cut the ribbon to new artificial intelligence cage in November.
(Photo courtesy of Alabama A&M University)

Nestled on the Alabama A&M University campus lies a state-of-the-art facility that allows faculty and students to conduct groundbreaking research and analyze the intelligence of artificial entities. On Nov. 28, AAMU and Sandia cut the ribbon on the university’s new artificial intelligence cage to conduct drone and robotic AI research.

This project is the latest in a partnership with the historically Black university. The Labs began working with talent at the university in 2022 through Sandia’s Securing Top Academic Research and Talent at Historically Black Colleges and Universities program, known as START HBCU.

Steve Gianoulakis, senior manager of the autonomy and unmanned systems department, serves as the deputy campus executive on behalf of Sandia for AAMU. In this role, Steve works with Sandia executives and AAMU faculty to establish institutional relationships, research collaborations and talent pathways for underrepresented minority students. The AI cage is a milestone toward furthering AI research.

“AAMU has built an AI cage as a tool to help with the development of autonomous algorithms that are based on artificial intelligence for the control and application of small uncrewed systems. The cage was based on a similar model at Sandia. The Sandia unmanned aircraft systems team provided AAMU the full design package to facilitate their recreating the system,” Steve said. “The AI cage will help the development of more effective ways to steer and use drones to perform a variety of tasks, like help develop technologies to defend against drones. Drones have become the largest threats to sensitive facilities.”

The facility allows for students to address real-world challenges and develop adaptable, automated drone systems and vehicles.

“The AI cage is a great facility that is used by AAMU faculty and students to conduct drone and robotic AI research in a controlled, safe environment.” said Andrew Scott, chairman of the AAMU Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Program and interim director for the RISE Foundation, the contracting arm of the university. RISE stands for research, innovation, science and engineering.

For more information about employment and internship opportunities, visit START HBCU Institute, or reach out to START HBCU recruiter Sheila Lewis or Sandia Deputy Campus Partnership Manager Ben Brodsky, who is local to the AAMU campus engaging with faculty and prospective students.

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