Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

Navy mine-hunting robots to get smart, enhancing capability

The Royal Australian Navy’s growing fleet of unmanned and autonomous mine-hunting equipment is increasing in capability as the platforms get smarter and the fleet adapts to using the platforms.

The Royal Australian Navy’s growing fleet of unmanned and autonomous mine-hunting equipment is increasing in capability as the platforms get smarter and the fleet adapts to using the platforms.

Whether providing a bird’s eye view of the battlefield or searching the ocean for mines, it’s well known robotic systems are ideally suited to dull, dirty and dangerous jobs.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The operator of an uninhabited aerial vehicle can remotely control a drone using radio or satellite communications. However, communicating through water is more difficult, driving a need to incorporate a greater degree of autonomy in uninhabited underwater vehicles (UUVs).

There are a range of technological solutions that can be used to seek out mines in the ocean, but Navy primarily relies on sonar.

As it moves through the water, a sonar device sends out pulses of sound and listens for echoes to bounce back. From this data, sonar produces acoustically generated images that should reveal any mines that might be lurking on the seabed.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Defence scientist Dr Phil Chapple has developed software that processes sonar imagery automatically detecting any objects of interest.

Known as SonarDetect, the software can be used to carry out post-mission analysis, including processing data all at once after it has been collected. But the software can also work in real time as a sonar-equipped UUV moves around the ocean.

"These robotic vehicles are normally programmed to follow certain fixed paths. They will cover an area of the seabed and go backwards and forwards to cover an area and provide images of all of the seabed," Dr Chapple explained. 

Dr Chapple added, "Those images are sent back for analysis later by the naval operator but we are trying to make that more autonomous so vehicles can respond immediately if they see something of interest."

Once it detects something, the vehicle might pause its predetermined search pattern to take a closer look at the object, capturing images from different angles to help identification.

The UUV might return to the surface and alert the operator of what it has found, and to await instructions.

Dr Chapple said robotic vehicles were not intended to replace naval personnel but envisaged UUVs being deployed as part of a team to enhance Navy’s mine countermeasures capability.

"We’re trying to build in autonomy because it will enhance the ability of the naval operator to conduct a mission. If they can send out robotic vehicles, trust what they’re going to do and rely on them to come back safely then that will be a force multiplier going forward," Dr Chapple added. 

Navy mine-hunting robots to get smart, enhancing capability
Navy_Minehunting_Course.jpg
lawyersweekly logo

 

more from defence connect

Sep 25 2020
Consumer calls for ‘ethical manufacturing’ perfect to shift policy dialogue
Growing concerns about global exploitation of cheap labour have seen an increasing number of busines...
Jack Kormas
Sep 24 2020
PODCAST: LAND 129 Phase 3 and supporting sovereign UAS capabilities – Jack Kormas, managing director, Textron Systems Australia
While much of the focus for sovereign industrial capabilities has been for Defence’s big-ticket it...
Raytheon Australia announces team of Aussie SMEs for LAND 129 bid
Sep 24 2020
Raytheon Australia announces team of Aussie SMEs for LAND 129 bid
Raytheon Australia has announced its team of 10 Australian SMEs to deliver a fully sovereign Austra...
FROM THE WEB
Recommended by Spike Native Network