Plans unveiled for $50m research centre for military drones and robotics in QLD

Plans unveiled for $50m research centre for military drones and robotics in QLD article image

A groundbreaking new $50 million Defence centre to research futuristic drones and robotics for Australia’s military will be built in Queensland.

The Federal Government has announced plans to establish the first Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for “trusted autonomous systems”.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said Queensland would be the launching pad for the potentially game-changing plan, which will look at how artificial intelligence can launch cyber attacks and send robots into battle.

With many companies already using “field” robotics, the Queensland-based centre will look at how robots can be deployed on the battlefield, ­including delivering ammunition and rescuing wounded soldiers.

Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said building the centre in Queensland was a vote of confidence in the state’s “world-leading” push in the field of innovation.

“This will develop critical mass in key technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and autonomous vehicles and will position Queensland as a global leader in these areas,” she said.

The centre will be a collaboration between universities, research agencies, industry and the Australian Defence Force to develop technology such as drones and robots for the army, navy and air force.

Location to be decided

The parties will now begin talks on where the centre will be located and how many jobs will be created by the plan.

“Existing autonomous and robotic systems that operate in the manufacturing and mining sector are effective in controlled environments but not suitable for the uncertain situations in which Defence operates,” Mr Pyne said.

“To be effective, Defence needs autonomous systems to be highly trusted, robust and resilient.

“This initiative will bring together the best researchers from industry and universities to develop the intelligent ­military platforms of the ­future.”

The centre will receive annual funding of around $8 million, with a maximum $50 million to be spent over a seven-year period. The Queensland centre will be the first of several that will be announced by the Government.

The centre’s chairman, businessman Jim McDowell, said the focus would be on moving forward with “industry-led projects” which had a real chance of being rolled out for the ADF.

“This has been a good start to rapidly form a Defence CRC with a totally novel formation process and to do it on schedule,” Mr McDowell said.

Source: The Courier Mail



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