Ann Arbor’s Red Hat Announces Edge Computing Innovation and Lockheed Martin Partnership

Red Hat Inc., a provider of open-source solutions with an office in Ann Arbor, announced a collaboration to advance artificial intelligence (AI) innovation at the edge on Lockheed Martin military platforms at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Detroit from Oct. 11-15.
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A Stalker UAS with Red Hat Device Edge integration. // Courtesy of Red Hat
A Stalker UAS with Red Hat Device Edge integration. // Courtesy of Red Hat

Red Hat Inc., a provider of open-source solutions with an office in Ann Arbor, announced a collaboration to advance artificial intelligence (AI) innovation at the edge on Lockheed Martin military platforms at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Detroit from Oct. 11-15.

Adopting the newly announced Red Hat Device Edge (see related news below) will enable Lockheed Martin to support U.S. national security missions by applying and standardizing AI technologies in geographically constrained environments.

With Red Hat Device Edge, the companies are equipping U.S. military platforms, such as the Stalker unmanned aerial system (UAS), with advanced software that was previously too large and complex for these systems. This advanced software enables small platforms to handle large AI workloads, increasing their capability in the field and driving faster, data-backed decision making.

In a recent demonstration, Lockheed Martin used Red Hat Device Edge on a Stalker UAS to demonstrate how AI-enhanced sensing can advance joint all-domain operations. The Stalker used onboard sensors and AI to adapt in real-time to a threat environment.

The Stalker was flying an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission to detect a simulated military target. Once the Stalker detected the target emitter, project engineers used Red Hat Device Edge to update the Stalker’s software in-flight.

The new software — now managed on platform by Red Hat Device Edge — enabled the Stalker to deploy updated AI-based computer vision capabilities, also known as automated target recognition capabilities. As a result, Stalker was able to classify the military target, providing more useful ISR data and enhancing the situational awareness of the threat environment more accurately.

Lockheed Martin, Red Hat and other industry collaborators are enhancing 5G.MIL capabilities with RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) functionality using Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading Kubernetes platform, to deliver resilient communications for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lockheed Martin is a key contributor to the MicroShift project, collaborating to help build out the project’s edge capabilities for remote and inaccessible environments. As part of Lockheed Martin’s 21st century security vision to leverage the best commercial technologies for the defense industry, the company plans to continue to innovate using Red Hat Device Edge and edge Kubernetes capabilities for a broader range of applications across all domains: land, sea, air, space, and cyber.

In related news, Red Hat introduced Red Hat Device Edge, a solution for flexibly deploying traditional or containerized workloads on small devices such as robots, IoT gateways, points of sale, public transport and more.

“Innovation at the edge has introduced new benefits and use cases for organizations across all industries – but it has also created new challenges,” says Francis Chow, vice president and general manager of in-vehicle operating systems and edge at Red Hat.

“Working with our customers and partners, Red Hat began a journey to develop a new technology offering — designed specifically for the edge — extending our hybrid cloud solution so that our ecosystem will be able to take advantage of intelligence paired with trusted open-source technology to tackle their smallest footprint remote edge use cases. Tested in the community, now produced by Red Hat, Red Hat Device Edge is a major next step in harnessing the full range of benefits promised by edge computing.”

Red Hat Device Edge delivers an enterprise-ready and supported distribution of the Red Hat-led open source community project MicroShift, a lightweight Kubernetes orchestration solution built from the edge capabilities of Red Hat OpenShift, along with an edge-optimized operating system built from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

This latest product in the Red Hat edge portfolio aims to provide a future-proof platform that allows organizations’ architecture to evolve as their workload strategy changes. As more and more companies deploy edge computing across a broader range of use cases, many new questions, operational needs, and business challenges are poised to arise

In industries like automotive, manufacturing, and more, organizations are up against different environmental, security. and operational challenges that require an ability to work with small form-factor edge devices in these resource constrained environments. Ultimately, different devices have different requirements in terms of computing power, software compatibility, and security footprint.

Kubernetes built for edge deployments enables IT teams to use familiar Kubernetes features in a new, smaller, lighter-weight footprint offered by MicroShift. This lowers the barrier of entry for teams building cloud-native applications for edge computing environments and enables them to use existing Kubernetes skills to achieve greater consistency of operations across the entirety of the hybrid cloud, from the datacenter to public clouds to the edge.

The edge-optimized Linux OS built from the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform in Red Hat Enterprise Linux is tailored for small edge devices with intelligent updates that use minimum bandwidth. This helps organizations tackle the challenges of intermittent connectivity while mitigating the impact on edge innovation.

IT teams can use zero-touch provisioning, system health visibility, and updates with automatic rollbacks to maintain a stronger edge management and application security posture.

Red Hat Device Edge was created to help Red Hat customers and partners tackle their most challenging edge environments. For example, Lockheed Martin has been collaborating with Red Hat in the MicroShift project community and is also working to deploy Red Hat Device Edge to modernize and standardize its application delivery and AI workloads in extreme conditions including wildland fire management, contested military environments and space.

Additionally, ABB is planning to use Red Hat Device Edge for ABB Ability Edgenius on resource constrained devices. Edgenius is a comprehensive edge platform for industrial software applications.

Red Hat Device Edge will be aimed at organizations who require small factor edge devices with support for bare metal, virtualized or containerized applications, regardless of industry. Additional use cases include but are not limited to:

  • Miniature, connected nodes on public transportation where edge devices are often in motion but still need faster processing via AI/ML to analyze data locally in real time.
  • Resilient resource nodes at challenging locations like weather monitoring stations where, in spite of the harsh, tough-to-support environments, an edge device will still be capable of taking care of itself with the ability to perform automated software rollbacks, maintain a stronger security posture and better enforce sensitive data controls.
  • Emerging edge constrained scenarios where thousands of edge devices may be running applications in locations that make weight, temperature and connectivity all major concerns.

Red Hat Device Edge meets organizations wherever they are today in their edge computing journey, as it will run a wide variety of workloads using Podman for edge container management or MicroShift for a Kubernetes API. Customers will even be able to use legacy windows applications within a virtual machine.

Red Hat Device Edge is planned as a developer preview early next year, and expected to be generally available with full support later in 2023.

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