Organised by Melbourne's Defence Science Institute (DSI) and the Adelaide-based Defence Innovation Partnership (DIP) in collaboration with the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's (RDECOM) International Technology Centre – Pacific (ITC-PAC) and the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group, the workshop saw researchers from 16 Australian universities, CSIRO'S Data61 and three Victorian SMEs – DefendTex, Tectonica Australia and AOS Group – deliver 56 presentations to a mix of research organisations from the US including RDECOM and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR).
The workshop is part of a wider program of bilateral activities for the US delegation and its counterparts in the DST Group, which is designed to enhance bilateral co-operation and help strengthen each country’s defence forces by targeting and engaging the scientists and engineers that are actually doing the R&D work.
The US delegation is looking for early stage robotics and autonomy research projects that are potential candidates for US-Australian collaboration or co-operation, according to DSI director Dr Regina Crameri. Research projects presented by Australian researchers addressed challenges ranging from trust in human-autonomy teaming, through exploring legged robots, to sensing and perception – improving ISR capabilities using autonomous vehicles.
"The US defence research community’s specific areas of interest include sensing and perception, networks and communications, payloads, human interfaces and trust of autonomy/robotics, and supervised autonomy for target tracking," Dr Crameri said.
"This aligns well with Australia’s defence needs.
"This is the first time so many researchers and research leaders from the US have been able to engage with a broad group of Australian researchers.
"Along with any collaborative activities flowing directly from 2017 US-AUS Robotics and Autonomy Workshop, this helps build international relationships and develop knowledge of the R&D that’s being done in both countries and what opportunities there are for future engagement and collaboration."
The US researchers will evaluate the 56 Australian research proposals and, if any are candidates for further joint work, the delegation will then examine possible mechanisms for undertaking and funding joint and collaborative R&D.
Eighteen universities across every state and territory, except the Northern Territory, presented early stage research projects.