Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced a new five-year, $15 million research and development investment into new autonomous technologies that will revolutionise mine clearance capability in operations close to shore.
The project is part of a new partnership between Defence, Australia’s Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TAS DCRC) and Thales Australia.
Researchers will design, develop, test and evaluate various teams of micro Autonomous Underwater Vehicle swarms and Autonomous Surface Vessels to develop new systems for underwater mine detection and clearance.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds explained that the project will harness Australian research and innovation capabilities in autonomous systems technologies.
“As announced in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, developing new systems for underwater mine detection and clearance are vital to protecting Australia’s maritime environment and advancing our interests. Key technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, connectivity and cyber security will be vital in developing the capability to autonomously undertake environmental data collection and mine countermeasures missions,” Minister Reynolds explained.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price added that Australian businesses will play a vital role in the TAS DCRC project.
“Our local business partners will be part of the team designing and developing a communication, simulation and training solution for the new autonomous technologies. We are delighted to be working with the TAS DCRC, Thales and Australian businesses Mission Systems and INENI Realtime,” Minister Price explained.
Research partners include Flinders University, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney and Western Sydney University who will design, develop, test and evaluate various platforms.