Tasmania: Underwater Robotic Technology Headquarters Planned

University of Tasmania

Australia’s $750,000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) headquarters will be set up in Tasmania. The advanced facility will be at University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College. This will significantly boost Australia’s capabilities in automated maritime research.

According to project coordinator Peter King, AUVs are the technology of the future. “There really are only a few of these types of facilities in the world, so it’s really putting us into a select group,” he said. The robots at the centre will be deployed in various research missions for surveying ocean-depths for  collecting advanced scientific data.

“AUVs have come along now as the cutting edge for ocean-based science and data collection and survey, particularly when you get into the under-ice realms,” King said.

The new facility will also retain a couple of existing underwater vehicles already owned by the university. It will house a large under-ice capable AUV. This will be part of the Antarctic Gateway Partnership project, reports ABC News. The Antarctic Gateway Partnershup AUV will have eight metres of length and three tons of weight.

“They can go very deep, they can go very close to the bottom and they can travel long distances. When you’re going to places like Antarctica, where you want to get data from far-reaching places under the ice you probably just can’t get with other methods, AUVs really are the technology of the future that’s going to allow this type of collection,” King added.

The main strength of the new AUV centre will be advanced data collection facilities in oceanic research.  “Through local and international collaborations, we aim to develop new data collection capabilities, improve reliability and increase autonomy of underwater vehicles,” AMC Principal Professor Neil Bose said.

Meanwhile, Australia and Japan are collaborating on a marine hydrodynamics research project, reports Marine Technology News.  The joint research involves experimental work both in Japan and Australia. In Australia, the program runs at the DST Group laboratory in Melbourne and AMC Tasmania.

According to Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky, this is the first joint research project between the two countries. Japan’s main agency in the research is Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency.

“Understanding hydrodynamics is vital for the future of Australia’s maritime defence and this collaboration will greatly benefit our technology development in this area,” Zealinsky said. But the joint research has no links with the ongoing Competitive Evaluation Process of Australia’s submarine acquisition.

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