Federal Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne last week announced the establishment of Australia’s first Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems.
The list of participating members includes BAE Systems Australia, RMIT University, DefendTex and the Department of Defence, represented by Defence Science and Technology Group and Queensland University of Technology, to name a few.
Robotics have become an integral part of many industries, manufacturing and mining to name just a few and achieving the next level in the development of autonomous technologies in the defence industries is what this undertaking is about.
“The Defence CRC establishment is based on a sound formation plan developed by Chair Mr Jim McDowell, in collaboration with a panel of independent experienced experts from industry, academia, Defence and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory,” Minister Pyne said.
“Initially, there will be three Defence CRC research projects led by BAE Systems, Thales Australia and Lockheed Martin in the land, maritime and aerospace domains. Additional companies and universities will join as participating members and research partners as the Defence CRC grows and takes on more projects.”
QUT is already a proven leader in robotics and autonomous systems research; some of the university’s greatest achievements include the COTSbot – the crown-of-thorns starfish management robot that will be a potential game changer for environmental management and monitoring – the AgBot II – an agricultural robot that can autonomously navigate difficult terrain and so on.
QUT has also developed a world-first technology to enable drones to see and avoid other aircraft in flight in collaboration with Boeing and Insitu-Pacific and also jointly host the UAV Challenge with CSIRO.
Now, the university will continue its collaboration with these leading institutions and will lead research in the new Defence CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems from the $121 million research facility in Queensland.
According to the official announcement QUT will also collaborate with EPE and Caterpillar as well as with the University of Queensland and Griffith University.
“New autonomous systems will be developed to enable greater defence capability across land, sea and air and have major spin-off benefits to the development of robotics across agriculture, mining, aviation and the environment,” said QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Commercialisation, Professor Arun Sharma.
According to him, Queensland has the perfect environment to develop testing areas for robots and autonomous systems.