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Visionary Machines secures Defence contract for counter drone, sensor technology

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Australian computer vision company Visionary Machines has been engaged in a Defence innovation contract for counter drone and Robotic and Autonomous Systems technology.

Australian computer vision company Visionary Machines has been engaged in a Defence innovation contract for counter drone and Robotic and Autonomous Systems technology.

Visionary Machines was awarded an innovation contract to develop their Pandion counter drone and RAS Passive 3D Multispectral Perception Sensor technology as result of a winning submission to Army Innovation Day 2023. Army Innovation Day is a Department of Defence initiative that sees the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) partner with the Australian Army to challenge industry in solving complex problems for the Land Force.

Visionary Machines tendered for and was successful in securing a Phase 2 Technology Demonstration contract applicable across all three Counter Robotic and Autonomous Systems (C-RAS) capability themes, including Counter Aerial, Counter Ground and Counter Littoral and Riverine RAS.


Visionary Machines’ Pandion C-RAS Passive 3D Multispectral Perception System is an optical (camera-based) equivalent to a radar system for drone detection with multiple vehicle and stationary array applications, capable of tracking targets including uncrewed aerial systems, uncrewed ground systems, and uncrewed waterborne systems at significant distances from ground level or near ground level.

“Where technological warfare is so rapidly reshaping the battlefield, this is an important investment in sovereign Australian technology and the disruptive enhancement of our Defence capabilities,” Sonny Foster, chief executive officer of Visionary Machines, said.

“Our system’s ability to detect without being detected and to see in all weather and lighting conditions are critical technology differentiator for Defence and further cements Visionary Machines as a global leader in computer vision.”

The contract will see Visionary Machines demonstrate game-changing sensor technology capable of detecting targets at significant distance, while operating with stealth. This passive capability means the system avoids detection, an increasingly critical requirement on the modern battlefield. This sets the Pandion sensor system apart from traditional radar or laser range finding, both of which emit signals making them susceptible to detection and targeting.

Critically, the Pandion system has the unique capability to “see” in challenging conditions, such as extreme weather, low visibility environments, including low-light and complete darkness by combining visible light and infrared light for highly accurate 3D multispectral vision perception.

The Department of Defence, through ASCA, is connecting and streamlining the defence innovation system to drive capability development and acquisition pathways at speed and, more effectively, harness and coordinate the innovation ecosystem. Army, in partnership with ASCA, executed Army Innovation Day in 2023, which afforded Visionary Machines the opportunity to pitch their novel C-RAS solution, showcasing the strength of sovereign Australian technology.

“Visionary Machines was very pleased to showcase our Pandion sensor technology at Army Innovation Day 2023. We answered the call from Defence for innovative Counter Robotic and Autonomous Systems that can detect, identify, target and RAS threats to protect the Land Force. To then be one of the companies selected to proceed to Phase 2 Demonstration is testament to the innovative drive of our specialised computer vision team,” Foster said.  

Visionary Machines is a sovereign Australian company headquartered in Sydney with a research arm based in Oxford, United Kingdom.

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