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Defence to highlight future of unmanned operations at Autonomous Warrior 18

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Defence, in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), is hosting a major demonstration of trusted autonomous systems in and around Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast, with the focus on control, integration and demonstrating autonomous capabilities.

Autonomous Warrior 2018 (AW18) combines scientific trials, industry demonstrations and the exercising of in-service robotic and autonomous systems in what is the largest activity of its kind ever conducted by Western allies.

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Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said, "Autonomous systems will continue to increase in prevalence for military applications and Australia is a leader in developing unmanned systems."

AW18 will bring together the latest technology and brightest minds to further develop understanding and expertise in unmanned capabilities.

"Building on the success of Unmanned Warrior 2016 in the United Kingdom, we have up to 500 people from more than 40 companies showcasing their latest capabilities and demonstrating their application through real-world scenarios," Minister Pyne said.

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Unmanned Warrior 2016 involved industry participating in military missions, operational tasking efforts, innovative autonomous challenges and complex data integration.

AW18 seeks to examine the potential for autonomous systems to support Defence while operating in coastal environments. It will focus on the control and integration of uninhabited systems. It will not involve the demonstration of weapons capability.

"Autonomous systems will be fully integrated in our future fleet and Autonomous Warrior 2018 is an opportunity to inform our future projects that will deliver an enduring capability," Minister Pyne said. 

Autonomous Warrior 2018 consists of three different showcases, including: 

  • An Industry Dynamic Exhibition, providing an opportunity for Australian industry to showcase its technology, ingenuity and capacity for integration with other systems. This will be held during the first week;
  • An Autonomy Strategic Challenge 'Wizard of Aus' event, the fifth and final scientific trial in the TTCP Autonomy Strategic Challenge series. This will be held during the third week; and
  • Navy and Army using in-service semi-autonomous and unmanned assets.

Twenty-six Australian and international participants will provide live demonstrations of their technologies. 

Minister Pyne said, "The trials and demonstrations will provide Defence a clearer picture of the future of robotic and autonomous systems and how we might use them to remove people from harm’s way, or multiply our effectiveness, with intelligent systems."

Uninhabited air, ground, surface and underwater platforms will be operating throughout the HMAS Creswell littoral environment, and defence scientists will be assessing the control and operation of multiple vehicles by a single operator using the advanced Allied Impact (AIM) command and control (C2) system. The C2 system combines technology developed by the five participating nations.

The threat scenarios have been designed specifically to allow realistic Navy participation, in order to accurately examine the potential for autonomous systems to support Defence and other agencies in common coastal surveillance operations including illegal fishing, drug smuggling and counter terrorism.

Success will be measured by how well in-service systems from the five nations and those developed by different industry participants can be controlled by individuals and small teams to enhance Defence’s capacity.

AW18 will see improvements in the cohesion and automation of operations with respect to autonomous systems. It is expected that all uninhabited platforms participating in the Wizard of Aus TTCP event will be integrated through digital command and control, aiming to achieve improved co-ordination.

"Activities across air, land and sea domains will explore our ability to control multiple unmanned and autonomous systems concurrently to deliver a warfighting effect," Minister Pyne said. 

"Autonomous systems will be fully integrated in our future fleet and Autonomous Warrior 2018 is an opportunity to inform our future projects that will deliver an enduring capability."

Defence to highlight future of unmanned operations at Autonomous Warrior 18
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