Government launches $50m research centre on trusted autonomous systems

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Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has announced the launch of a Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) focusing on trusted autonomous systems.

The Defence CRC is a collaborative program that brings together academia, publicly funded research agencies, industry (particularly SMEs) to create an interlocking research and innovation capability that is focused on driving a Defence outcome.

The $50 million CRC is the first of several CRCs that the Government will be rolling out in the near future, each focusing on a high priority next generation technology with the potential to have a game-changing effect on Defence capabilities.

Minister Pyne said the first Defence CRC will focus on delivering innovative unmanned platforms that ensure reliable and effective cooperation between people and machines during dynamic military operations.

“Existing autonomous and robotic systems that operate in the manufacturing and mining sector are effective in controlled environments but not suitable for the uncertain situations in which Defence operates,” Minister Pyne said.

“To be effective, Defence needs autonomous systems to be highly trusted, robust and resilient and this initiative will bring together the best researchers from industry and universities to develop the intelligent military platforms of the future.”

The CRC for trusted autonomous systems, which will be chaired by UniSA Chancellor Jim McDowell, will receive an annual funding of $8 million with a maximum of $50 million over a seven year period.

“I am also pleased to announce that the CRC will be chaired by Mr Jim McDowell, an esteemed businessman who has had an extensive career in the defence industry, and most recently at the University of South Australia,” Minister Pyne said.

“As Chair, Mr McDowell will be responsible for leading the development of the research program and business plan and work with industry on transitioning the research results into capability outcomes.”

He said Defence will be a member of each CRC along with universities, research agencies and industry, with participating members to be selected on the basis of their research excellence and technology expertise.

“The CRC environment offers excellent synergies for Defence, industry and universities to collaborate closely on Defence innovation,” the Minister concluded.

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