WASHINGTON — Microsoft announced Aug. 29 a five-year agreement to provide cloud-computing resources to Synthetaic, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to analyze data from space and air sensors.

Wisconsin-based Synthetaic made news earlier this year after it used artificial intelligence and Planet Labs’ satellite imagery archive to independently track the Chinese spy balloon’s path across the United States before it was shot down.

Synthetaic’s AI product — the Rapid Automatic Image Categorization (RAIC) tool — was built on Microsoft Azure cloud. Under the new agreement, Microsoft will provide Synthetaic access to nearly 1 million hours of cloud compute resources, the company said. 

Processing more data

Synthetaic will work with Microsoft Azure Space on “new solutions to process geospatial, static and video imagery for national security, disaster response, and environmental and sustainability operations,” said Corey Jaskolski, Synthetaic founder and CEO. 

“AI has the power to unlock an enormous amount of information and insights in the vast quantities of data collected by government and organizations around the world,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president of strategic missions and technologies at Microsoft. 

“Through this partnership with Synthetaic, we are combining our latest advances in AI with their data analytics tools to help expand our understanding of our world,” Zander said. 

The RAIC data analysis tool will be made available to government agencies through the Microsoft Azure Government Cloud, the company said. “Agencies can leverage AI while meeting the high security and compliance standards necessary for sensitive government data.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...