Defence gets its autonomous systems CRC

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Defence gets its autonomous systems CRC

Queensland to host research HQ.

The Queensland University of Technology will act as the headquarters for the Defence department's new co-operative research centre (CRC) for trusted autonomous systems.

Defence industry minister Christopher Pyne yesterday revealed details of the CRC, which had been expected to be announced sometime this year. 

The CRC is being set up with $50 million in federal funding, though with industry contributions its total worth could exceed $121 million.

The aim is to “deliver trustworthy smart-machine technologies for new defence capabilities based on advanced human-machine teaming concepts”, Pyne said in a statement.

This builds on a multi-year body of work that has been occurring under the codename ‘Program Tyche’, and overseen by the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.

iTnews revealed details of Program Tyche in August; previously, tracking the program’s work had been difficult owing to the fragmentation of research projects between participants.

Pyne said the CRC will be home to three initial research projects “led by BAE Systems, Thales Australia and Lockheed Martin in the land, maritime and aerospace domains” respectively.

Under each of those lead defence contractors are a range of other participants, which can be viewed here.

Pyne said others were still being courted for a role in the CRC.

“Ongoing discussions are taking place with Boeing Australia and Data61 for their future involvement,” he said.

Other potential industry players that could come on board at a later date include Saab, drone maker Insitu Pacific, and Northrup Grumman.

QUT’s deputy vice-chancellor for research and commercialisation, Professor Arun Sharma, said the development of robotic and autonomous system technologies was "imperative to the development of the defence force of the future".

“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,” he said.

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