Australian SME EPE recently sent robotics engineer Robbie Wild to the US for a five-day Robotics Workshop jointly hosted by NASA and the CTTSO (Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office) at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
The workshop aimed to assist with CTTSO’s mission of expanding bomb response capabilities development. More specifically, the partnership addresses the CTTSO Improvised Device Defeat/ Explosives Countermeasures subgroup’s focus area of remote means, which seeks to develop or enhance technologies to remotely conduct neutralisation of unexploded ordnance (UXO), improvised explosives and their precursors, and hazard devices containing chemical, biological, or radiological materials.
The workshop brought together bomb technicians and engineers to leverage their different perspectives and rapidly prototype robots for deployment on EOD operations at a substantially lower cost than those commercially available. The bomb technicians represented Israeli Bomb Squads and the US Army and Air Force, and Robbie Wild represented Australia amongst the engineers.
EPE has delivered three projects through the Defence Innovation Hub over the last 18 months. The projects provide stand-off explosive and narcotic detection for Navy Boarding Parties; and Ground Penetrating Radar integrated onto in-service TALON robots for Route Clearance, plus an enhanced version which physically marks and digitally maps the cleared routes to sub-centimetre level accuracy.
"We are investing in prototyping and integration to develop innovative ways to remove our soldiers and first responders from threats and building Australian skills and Australian Industry Capability in the process," EPE Director, Warwick Penrose said.