Defence research to develop autonomous vehicles

Defence is working with research institutions to develop autonomous vehicles and improve human performance.

A group of four universities, including the University of Melbourne, Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, and Queensland University of Technology and two American institutions, Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will apply research on animal perception to robots.

Looking at how living creatures receive, process, and react to environmental and contextual information, could improve the perception, navigation, and spatial awareness of robots, in this case mounted in vehicles.

“This project is aimed at developing a truly autonomous vehicle capable of learning, adapting to unexpected situations and pursuing complex goals in dynamic and challenging environments,” said Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price.

The research project is funded through the AUSMURI program, which provides funding of up to $1 million per year for three years for high priority research.

In a separate initiative, eight Australian universities will conduct studies as part of the Human Performance Research network (HPRnet).

“The physical and cognitive performance and resilience of the warfighter is critical to Australian Defence Force capability, and continuing research is the building block for achieving high levels of performance,” said Price.

The selected research is a result of an open call by defence for research proposals. Successful studies covered cognitive augmentation, nutrition, and gut health, as well as augmented reality, team training, and resilience.

“These new four-year studies will enable HPRnet to benefit warfighters in all three services,” said Price