A new international collaboration between Australian and French academic institutions and industry is set to research autonomous maritime vehicles.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) covering research, development and education has been reached between Flinders University and the French Graduate School of Engineering ENSTA Bretagne, alongside Naval Group.
The agreement was signed in Adelaide by the CEO of Naval Group Hervé Guillou, Director of ENSTA Bretagne Pascal Pinot, and Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University Professor Colin Stirling at a ceremony attended by the Premier of SA Steven Marshall and President of the Regional Council of Brittany Loïg Chesnais-Girard.
Autonomous maritime vehicle research is an increasingly important area for defence and civilian applications. Researchers at Flinders have established a close research relationship with ENSTA Bretagne and the institutions will work collaboratively with Naval Group.
Students from Flinders and ENSTA Bretagne will also benefit from the agreement thanks to a focus on internships and work experience programs for students across both countries. The collaboration opens the pathway for Flinders students to undertake internships in France as well as French students to spend time in Flinders research laboratories.
“I am delighted that Flinders University continues to strengthen its relationship with ENSTA Bretagne and Naval Group in the vital area of autonomous systems and maritime vehicle research,” Professor Stirling said.
“This relationship will enable our students to benefit from exchange opportunities that will expose them to some of the most advanced research in this area and to create opportunities that will strengthen the relationship between SA and the Brittany region of France.”
“There is growing global interest in the emerging field of autonomous marine vehicles and we are pleased to be further building our relationship with Flinders University and Naval Group as a historic partner in developing these exciting technologies,” Pinot said.
“Naval Group is proud to be part of this tripartite effort covering research, development and education; it will allow our team to progress towards smarter naval products,” Naval Group’s Innovation Director Eric Papin said.
In July 2018, Flinders became the first research institution outside of France invited to join CELADON, an association of leading industry and academic institutions (including ENSTA Bretagne) that operates land-based and marine facilities adjacent to the French Naval Academy in Brest.
The partnership is one of a number made between SA and the Brittany region, including an agreement between UniSA and Region Bretagne.