EPE MILTECS – Human Teaming and Response Robotics Standardised Testing, Evaluation and Certification Interactive Showcase Event Recap
On Thursday, 21 April 2022, QDSA teamed up with EPE and the CSIRO to officially open the Military Test, Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance (MILTECS) facility and host an interactive showcase featuring presentations on human teaming and response robotics, standardised testing, evaluation and certification.
A Flagship Event for QDSA
This event was particularly significant in the QDSA calendar as it embodies the three strategic pillars of our strategic plan – Communication, Collaboration and Connection.
The EPE MILTECS showcase provided an opportunity to bring together stakeholders from Defence, first responder, industry, government and academia – at the one event.
The EPE Human Teaming and Response Robotics Standardised Testing, Evaluation and Certification Interactive Showcase differed from previous events. It was a combination of speaker presentations, panel discussions and on-site live demonstrations of equipment and technology. Some great networking was observed as we walked from demonstration to demonstration across the site.
The program proved to be very engaging and demonstrated a genuine and current demand for both the capabilities and facilities on display.
Warwick Penrose – Managing Director, EPE
The day began with a warm welcome and introduction by Warwick Penrose, Managing Director EPE, who offered an overview of the MILTECS facility, EPE’s work, and its strategic partnership with CSIRO.
Warwick highlighted the importance of the Proving Grounds to the Australian robotics ecosystem and invited industry and researchers to utilise the brand-new facilities to further their projects.
The Pullenvale MILTECS facility represents several firsts in Australia. Warwick later discussed the success of the strategic partnership with CSIRO and the support of Defence funding in developing the facility.
“EPE invested $1 million to the MILTECS facilities; Defence acknowledged the importance of this facility by contributing a $1.4 million Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grant. EPE established a strategic partnership with CSIRO for human-machine teaming, which enabled us to build the facilities you see today at CSIRO Pullenvale. And really, then Defence and the ecosystem can get more out of the $3.5million that CSIRO has invested into the Robot Innovation Center. So in the last six months, we’ve just created $6 million in new infrastructure that wasn’t there six months ago.
The next phase of MILTECS that we didn’t see today is now complete. It provides a National Multi-use Improvised Threat Detection and Mitigation Training and Proving Facility for use by Australian Defence, Police and industry, and potentially other nations in our region. The facility is located at Helidon, 66km from the RAAF Base at Amberley and 105 km from the Enoggera Army Base,” Mr Penrose explained.
MILTECS Terrain Park
Following the introduction, attendees moved to the on-site Terrain Park, part of Proving Ground 1. This location provided the backdrop for three rounds of demonstrations that cycled from one site to the next, allowing attendees to view each in succession.
The Terrain Park program included Australian Droid and Robot (ADR) and CSIRO’s Data 61 Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) demonstrations and presentations by Keith Thomas (EPE), Joe Cronin (ADR), and Navinda Kottege, CSIRO.
MILTECS Mounted Lanes
At the Mounted Lanes venue, attendees enjoyed presentations aimed at emphasising the need for researchers and developers to complete testing locally and increase local industry capability. The lanes provide the ability to develop, test, and evaluate new concepts and use such technologies as route clearance through vehicle-mounted ground-penetrating radar (GPR).
EPE’s Rob Edye and Robbie Wild demonstrated the challenges of effectively testing these capabilities throughout development and proving phases, exemplifying the need for access to local facilities to overcome this.
Peter Milani, Ichor Autonomy, also provided a demonstration on Small Uncrewed Aerial Systems (sUAS) for Penetrating Urban Terrain (SPUrT).
Robotics Innovation Centre (RIC)
The next stop was the Robotics Innovation Centre (RIC), with a demonstration of testing using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standard on the Ground Test Methods course by Jacob and Keith from EPE. This included a brief on requirements for and benefits of standardised testing for robots & operators, a description of NIST and a live demonstration of an Uncrewed Ground Vehicle (UGV) operating on the course.
Attendees then engaged in a series of presentations to round out the central component of the day by:
- Dr S. Kate Devitt – TASDCRC – Understanding performance, safety and success in human autonomy demonstrations.
- Dr Andrew Back – UQ/TASDCRC – Identification of Anomalies within Human-Machine Teaming using Synthetic Language and Information Topology AI
- Ben Sorenson – Cyber Security CRC – Cyber security – software security, cyber assured autonomous systems
CSIRO Lecture Theatre
The CSIRO Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT) is the perfect venue for events like the MILTECS Interactive Showcase. The location is home not only to the MILTECS Proving Grounds but also to a fully equipped lecture theatre for large scale presentations.
The afternoon program took advantage of the lecture theatre with a comprehensive line up bringing together representatives from Defence and emergency services to discuss and demonstrate the use of robotics and developing technologies in real-world applications.
- Dr Nicholas J FitzGerald – Science, Technology & Innovation Lead – OCE STaR Shot DSTG – OCE STaR Shot Overview & Briefing and discussion of Active Collaborative CBRN Environments, Sense and Sense-making systems.
- Major Racheal Ayoub, ADF RICO – Army Robotic & Autonomous Implementation & Coordination Office (RICO) Program update
- Snr SGT Andy Rowan, Queensland Police Service (QPS) Forensics – presentation on the use of robotics in real-world situations
- Dr Michael Logan, (National CBRN Specialist) Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES)
- Dr Jeremy Anderson, QDSA & Warwick Penrose, EPE – Wrap-up
Here is a short video recap of the event:
The success of the EPE Human Teaming and Response Robotics Standardised Testing, Evaluation and Certification Interactive Showcase is just one example of the collaborations fostered by QDSA.
2022 will see QDSA continue its efforts to connect SMEs and research institutes with opportunities that will encourage the growth of Australian Defence capability and technology. We look forward to sharing the coverage of future events as we work to help all of our stakeholders accelerate the advantage for the Australian Defence Force.
QDSA Upcoming Events and Opportunities
QDSA has many upcoming events and opportunities, with more being added each week. Want to find out what is on the horizon? Check out our News section on our website here or subscribe to our e-newsletter here.
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative to grow and connect an agile Defence innovation ecosystem, leveraging Queensland’s strengths, to deliver trusted solutions to meet Defence requirements.