Flinders University and ENSTA Bretagne are strengthening their collaborations in the fields of autonomous underwater vehicles #ST17 [fr]
French-Australian cooperation on autonomous vehicles was fostered last year when a Letter of intent for the development and the creation of a common structure enhancing Franco-Australian cooperation on human-machine and autonomous systems was signed between CNRS, Naval Group and the 3 universities of South Australia (University of South Australia, Flinders University and University of Adelaide). This letter was signed during the visit to Australia of Ms. Frederique Vidal, French Minister for Higher Education, Science and Innovation in February 2019.
These partners marked their intention to engage in a common dynamics aiming to take the next step towards building an International Research Laboratory in the area on human-machine interaction and autonomous systems. This collaboration aims to create an ecosystem integrating education, research, innovation and industry in the field of artificial intelligence.
As part of the framework of this project, Professor Benoit Clement, Deputy Head of Lab-STICC at ENSTA Bretagne, has spent eight months at Flinders University with Professor Karl Sammut, from Flinders Centre for Maritime Engineering, Control and Imaging, in order to work on autonomous underwater vehicle technology.
Underwater environments pose great technological challenges, including acoustic communication delays, complexity of the marine water behaviour and interactions with the vehicles, or battery endurance issues… The idea is to develop embedded artificial intelligence to provide solutions and improve vehicles situation awareness, motion control, and performance.
Today, at the end of Prof. Clement’s visit, the Lab-Sticc and the Centre for Maritime Engineering, Control and Imaging teams hope to develop tools and to complete initial validation tests on the existing vehicles at the two institutions within a few years’ time. But to go further and develop new prototypes, industry and defence partnerships are very important, as well as student exchanges between both institutions to equip the next generation of pioneers in this dynamic field.
This collaboration is only beginning, and despite the Covid crisis which hampered the planned meetings and experiments, both teams are looking forward to interacting more, strengthening the relationship, building industry partnerships, and supporting students’ exchanges, including through the very fruitful Nicolas Baudin internships.
Interview of Benois Clément, Deputy Head of Lab-STICC, during his visite at Flinders University