QLD’s $50m tech hub for military drones

A $50 million centre to develop drone and robotics technology for the Defence Force will be built in Queensland. The Queensland state government welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to back Queensland’s bid to host the Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems.

It will be a national facility that develops technology like drones and robotics for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the location of this Centre in Queensland was a vote of confidence in the state’s world leading innovation and technology capability.

“This centre will draw together industry, researchers and local businesses to work with Defence to develop new technologies for drones and other unmanned vehicles,” she said.

“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.”

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the Queensland government recognised that defence was a critical industry for the state, employing approximately 6,500 workers.

In 2015/16, Queensland companies were awarded more than $4.2b in Australian defence contract payments.

“The Government committed during the election campaign to this bid and to the creation of Defence Jobs Queensland – recognising that the defence industry can generate jobs and business for Queensland,” Dick said.

The State Development Minister said an important feature of the proposal would be to develop sites for testing, trials and evaluation of drones.

“We will invest in test facilities, including large drone zones in regional Queensland — both aerial and marine —as part of the CRC.’’

Both ministers recognised the capability that global companies like Boeing, and small companies like EPE and Nova Systems, contribute to Queensland’s leading technology in this area.

“Our supply chains in Queensland are a major asset both for the Defence Force and for Queensland,” Mr Dick said.

“The Queensland Government is proud to have the Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, and Griffith University as key partners in this bid,” Ms Jones said.

“The bid is also supported by capacity across all other universities in Queensland.

“This technology will have application not only in defence but in using drones in areas like agriculture and environment.”

Queensland will contribute a Brisbane-based headquarters for the CRC, world class testing ranges, support research and technology projects, support industry to develop standards for autonomous systems and the development of platform technologies for unmanned aerial systems.

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