The Stanford H4D program leveraged ATAK last summer. Here’s a long form article titled “I SAW THE FUTURE OF DEFENSE IN CALIFORNIA, AND IT’S COMING TO A UNIVERSITY NEAR YOU” from War on The Rocks.com.
One of the big insights from the video was that the last thing the user needs is yet another system. They list users as SOCOM, Rangers (since 2013), GREEN BERETS, NAVY SEALS, Green Berets, Air Force Pararescuemen and Norwegian SOF.
Here are is the bit that concerns ATAK, along with a video:
They set about designing a “Call of Duty” style map, on which friendlies are blue and the enemy is red. The commercial drone would identify who was on the ground, categorize them, and beam the data to the soldiers below. The below video demonstrates their MVP.
But what would receive the data? The good news is that the military already fields something that could serve as the platform for this, obviating the need to build a whole new software platform. It is called the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK). It is like Google Maps for the military. Soldiers carry around a Harris radio hooked up to a tablet or phone. When the two are linked, the location of everyone carrying these appears on a map on the tablet — just like in “Call of Duty.” But it is more than that. It is a mobile intranet with communications tools, overlays, and more. The Rangers have been using ATAK since 2013.
This was the perfect solution for Team Skynet. It didn’t require anyone to carry more gear and increase the already heavy load soldiers lug around. ATAK already exists within the Army acquisition system. The team shared its idea with sponsors and other stakeholders and received uniformly positive feedback.