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Defence Innovation Hub to boost Australian Industry

Defence Innovation Hub boosts Australia’s Defence Industry by $12.3 million

D+I Newsroom

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Defence Innovation Hub boosts Australia’s Defence Industry by $12.3 million

The second tranche of Defence Innovation Hub investments worth $12.3 million has been announced today by Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP.

This injection will ensure Defence has access to ground-breaking technology.

“This investment will see a number of organisations across Australia benefit from this initiative to develop game-changing defence equipment.

“It will help support a number of local jobs across Australia and keep local defence industry involved in the latest innovation for Australia’s defence,” Minister Pyne said.

The eight innovation contracts announced today includes $3.17 million to Ron Allum Deepsea Services in NSW which will provide a novel, high-performance autonomous glider for long-endurance vehicle, theatre scale undersea surveillance.

Also announced today is an innovation contract worth $3.2 million to Quintessence Labs in the ACT which will seek to negate threats to Defence’s current secure communications from the imminent arrival of quantum computing capabilities.

Grollo Aerospace in Victoria will also today receive funding of $1.9 million to develop an affordable and re-usable supersonic sea skimming target missile, aimed at providing the Royal Australian Air Force with high speed unmanned targets for air combat training.

Minister Pyne said the Defence Innovation Hub continues to receive an enthusiastic reception from businesses and research organisations from across Australia.

“The Defence Innovation Hub was established in December last year as a robust program to facilitate and nurture the development of innovative technology and ideas in support of Defence capability,” he said.

“The Government has invested $1.6 billion to develop Defence capability through growth in the capacity and capability of Australia’s defence industry and innovation sector.

Minister Pyne said the announcement today reiterates the Turnbull Government’s commitment to using its Defence dollar to ensuring the creation of jobs and economic growth here in Australia while supporting and improving Defence capability through innovation.

Industry and research organisations are encouraged to continue to submit proposals through the Defence Innovation Portal at www.business.gov.au/cdic.

Contracts awarded today under the Defence Innovation Hub

OrganisationContract ValueDescription of Innovation
Ron Allum Deepsea Services (Sydney, NSW)

 

$3,170,000An innovation contract between Defence and Ron Allum Deepsea Services and Defence will explore the feasibility of a novel, high-performance autonomous glider for long-endurance undersea surveillance.

 

Quintessence Labs

(ACT)

 

$3,261,000An innovation contract between Defence and Quintessence Labs will explore the feasibility of the establishment of highly secure communications links between two points, both fixed and over line of sight free space.

 

Deakin University (VIC)

 

$2,157,000An innovation contract between Defence and Deakin University will explore the feasibility of developing a functioning hot fire training system using haptic (touch) force feedback, high fidelity visuals, and realistic heat experience to improve fire fighting training for Navy. The combination of technologies is unlikely to have occurred elsewhere in the world.

 

Grollo Aerospace (VIC)

 

$1,925,000An innovation contract between Defence and Grollo Aerospace will explore the feasibility of an affordable re-usable supersonic sea skimming target missile, designed in Australia, with the potential of offering a world leading capability optimised for the Australian Defence Force.

 

Data to Decisions Co-Operative Research Centre (SA)

 

$1,054,000An innovation contract between Defence and the Data to Decisions Co-Operative Research Centre will explore the feasibility of the development of a cyber-threat intelligence capability that could assist enterprise and mission systems in identifying and treating potential adversary exploitations. This novel innovation will leverage international efforts in this research field.

 

Saber Aeronautics Australia (Sydney, NSW)

 

$275,000An innovation contract between Defence and Saber Aeronautics Australia will explore the development of an innovation that will use machine learning technology for autonomous identification and modelling of electronic threats.

 

SYPAQ Systems (Melbourne, VIC)

 

$274,000An innovation contract between Defence and SYPAQ Systems will explore the development of software based systems that effectively train networks to learn how to interpret non-standard intelligence products and convert them to comply with appropriate format standards.

 

Trang Imagineering (Regional NSW)

 

$218,000An innovation contract between Defence and Trang Imagineering will explore the development of 3D sensors that have been used in the mining industry for potential use by the Australian Defence Force for threat monitoring in conflict zones. This innovation has significant potential for use by the Australian Defence Force, such as identifying areas of ground disturbance where IEDs, or other threats, might be hidden, and identifying recent enemy movements based on 3D scanning of changes to terrain.

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United Nations urged to ban lethal autonomous weapons

World’s top AI and robotics companies have urged the United Nations to ban lethal autonomous weapons – Killer Robots.

Terry Turner

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The World’s top AI and robotics companies have urged the United Nations to ban lethal autonomous weapons, also being referred to as Killer Robots.

Open letter by leaders of leading robotics & AI companies is launched at the world’s biggest artificial intelligence conference as UN delays meeting till later this year to discuss the robot arms race

An open letter signed by 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countriesurges the United Nations to urgently address the challenge of lethal autonomous weapons (often called ‘killer robots’) and ban their use internationally.

A key organiser of the letter, Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, released it at the opening of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2017) in Melbourne, the world’s pre-eminent gathering of top experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Walsh is a member of the IJCAI 2017’s conference committee.

The open letter is the first time that AI and robotics companies have taken a joint stance on the issue. Previously, only a single company, Canada’s Clearpath Robotics, had formally called for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons.

In December 2016, 123 member nations of the UN’s Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons unanimously agreed to begin formal discussions on autonomous weapons. Of these, 19 have already called for an outright ban.

“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter states. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.

“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close,” it states, concluding with an urgent plea for the UN “to find a way to protect us all from these dangers.”

Signatories of the 2017 letter include:

  • Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX and OpenAI (USA)
  • Mustafa Suleyman, founder and Head of Applied AI at Google’s DeepMind (UK)
  • Esben Østergaard, founder & CTO of Universal Robotics (Denmark)
  • Jerome Monceaux, founder of Aldebaran Robotics, makers of Nao and Pepper robots (France)
  • Jü rgen Schmidhuber, leading deep learning expert and founder of Nnaisense (Switzerland)
  • Yoshua Bengio, leading deep learning expert and founder of Element AI (Canada)

Their companies employ tens of thousands of researchers, roboticists and engineers, are worth billions of dollars and cover the globe from North to South, East to West: Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK, United Arab Emirates and USA.

Walsh is one of the organisers of the 2017 letter, as well as an earlier letter released in 2015 at the IJCAI conference in Buenos Aires, which warned of the dangers of autonomous weapons. The 2015 letter was signed by thousands of researchers in AI and robotics working in universities and research labs around the world, and was endorsed by British physicist Stephen Hawking, Apple  Co-founder Steve Wozniak and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky, among others.

“Nearly every technology can be used for good and bad, and artificial intelligence is no different,” said Walsh. “It can help tackle many of the pressing problems facing society today: inequality and poverty, the challenges posed by climate change and the ongoing global financial crisis. However, the same technology can also be used in autonomous weapons to industrialise war.

“We need to make decisions today choosing which of these futures we want. I strongly support the call by many humanitarian and other organisations for an UN ban on such weapons, similar to bans on chemical and other weapons,” he added.

“Two years ago at this same conference, we released an open letter signed by thousands of researchers working in AI and robotics calling for such a ban. This helped push this issue up the agenda at the United Nations and begin formal talks. I am hopeful that this new letter, adding the support of the AI and robotics industry, will add urgency to the discussions at the UN that should have started today.”

“The number of prominent companies and individuals who have signed this letter reinforces our warning that this is not a hypothetical scenario, but a very real, very pressing concern which needs immediate action,” said Ryan Gariepy, founder & CTO of Clearpath Robotics, who was the first to sign.

“We should not lose sight of the fact that, unlike other potential manifestations of AI which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability,” he added. “The development of lethal autonomous weapons systems is unwise, unethical and should be banned on an international scale.”

Yoshua Bengio, founder of Element AI and a leading ‘deep learning’ expert, said: “I signed the open letter because the use of AI in autonomous weapons hurts my sense of ethics, would be likely to lead to a very dangerous escalation, because it would hurt the further development of AI’s good applications, and because it is a matter that needs to be handled by the international community, similarly to what has been done in the past for some other morally wrong weapons (biological, chemical, nuclear).”

Stuart Russell, founder and Vice-President of Bayesian Logic, agreed: “Unless people want to see new weapons of mass destruction – in the form of vast swarms of lethal microdrones – spreading around the world, it’s imperative to step up and support the United Nations’ efforts to create a treaty banning lethal autonomous weapons. This is vital for national and international security.”

BACKGROUND

The International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) is the world’s leading conference on artificial intelligence. It has been held every two years since 1969, and annually since 2015. It attracts around 2,000 of the best researchers working in AI from around the world. IJCAI 2017 is currently being held in Melbourne, Australia.

Two years ago, at IJCAI 2015, more than 1,000 AI researchers released an open letter calling for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons. Signatories to this letter have now grown to over 17,000.

As part of Melbourne’s Festival of Artificial Intelligence, there will be a public panel on Wednesday 23 August, 5.30 to 7.00pm, entitled, ‘Killer robots: The end of war?’. The panel features Stuart Russel, Ugo Pagallo and Toby Walsh. This is part of AI Lounge, a conversation about artificial intelligence open to the public and media every night from 21 to 25 August 2017 (see http://tinyurl.com/ailounge)

Toby Walsh’s new book, It’s Alive!: Artificial Intelligence from the Logic Piano to Killer Robots, just published by Black Inc, covers the arguments for and against lethal autonomous weapons in detail.

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Defence - Ministerial Releases

SMALL BUSINESS HELPS BUILD NAVAL CAPABILITY

Research funding to pursue of innovative maritime Defence technologies

Terry Turner

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Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced a new research partnership to pursue innovative maritime Defence technologies.

Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group and Sonartech Atlas signed a three-year agreement today for research and development in Australian Defence Force (ADF) Naval capability for ships and submarines.

Minister Pyne welcomed this new partnership with Sonartech Atlas, signed in Adelaide as part of DST Group’s annual Partnerships Week.

“Partnering with small and medium enterprises is essential for building and maintaining Defence capability and enhancing Australia’s Defence industry,” Minister Pyne said.

“Under the new agreement, Sonartech Atlas and DST Group will explore new technologies to help build the ADF’s Naval capability in short time signal analysis, on-board signature management systems and multi-sensor detection, tracking and data fusion.

“This agreement will accelerate the transfer and commercialisation of these innovative technologies and contribute to building an Indigenous Defence industry that can meet the unique capability needs of the ADF.”

Sonartech Atlas is an Australian based systems engineering company specialising in the design and development of sonar systems for naval and civilian applications.

Partnerships Week is an annual external engagement event open to invited representatives from industry, academia, research agencies, Defence and stakeholders from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics community.

DST Group also leads the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund which complements the Defence Innovation Hub launched last year, as the core of the new Defence Innovation System outlined in the Defence Industry Policy Statement.

These two signature innovation research and development programs, together with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, deliver on the Government’s $1.6 billion commitment to grow Australia’s defence industry and innovation sector.

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Defence - Ministerial Releases

NEW RESEARCH TO PROTECT DEFENCE AIRCRAFT

A big step towards improving the countermeasures deployed to protect our aircraft

Terry Turner

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Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced a new research agreement with industry to explore innovative technologies for protecting Australian Defence Force aircraft against missile threats.

Minister Pyne said this five-year agreement with Chemring Australia was signed in Adelaide today as part of the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group Partnerships Week, and was a big step towards improving the countermeasures deployed to protect our aircraft.

“Chemring Australia and DST Group will explore capabilities and advanced techniques for the manufacture of high-performance countermeasures that hide aircraft from radar detection and deflect heat-seeking missiles,” Minister Pyne said.

“The research will also examine the use of more efficient manufacturing technologies, such as resonant acoustic mixing, and novel concepts for pyrotechnic device.

“This partnership will allow the development of an advanced flare capability to provide protection against increasingly sophisticated missile systems.

“I welcome these agreements which are designed to give Defence a capability edge. Chemring Australia specialises in the manufacture of countermeasures, sensors, and energetic systems.”

Partnerships Week is an annual external engagement event open to invited representatives from industry, academia, research agencies, Defence and stakeholders from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics community.

DST Group also leads the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund which complements the Defence Innovation Hub launched last year, as the core of the new Defence Innovation System outlined in the Defence Industry Policy Statement.

These two signature innovation research and development programs, together with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, deliver on the Government’s $1.6 billion commitment to grow Australia’s defence industry and innovation sector.

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