The Essington Lewis Awards recognise excellence in industry and the Department of Defence collaboration, working together to overcome challenges or problems – ensuring that the ADF has or will have the materiel it needs, when it needs it, and at a cost that represents value for money.
Sadly, this year's awards could not go ahead in-person as initially planned due to pandemic-related restrictions and domestic border closures. However, ADM will announce the award winners on our website and via electronic direct messages on Monday October 18.
Ahead of the announcement, we are running a series of articles on the finalists in each category. Today we are proud to cover the finalists for Support/Services: the AI-Powered Leader-Follower Convoy of Autonomous Vehicles with Obstacle Avoidance from Army Headquarters Robotic & Autonomous Systems Implementation & Coordination Office, Future Land Warfare Branch and Deakin University; and RAAF Jericho Dawn 18-8 Seeing Machines from Defence’s Innovation Hub and Air Warfare Centre and Seeing Machines.
The AI-Powered Leader-Follower Convoy of Autonomous Vehicles with Obstacle Avoidance from Army Headquarters Robotic & Autonomous Systems Implementation & Coordination Office, Future Land Warfare Branch and Deakin University
This project was conceptualised based on the Army robotic and autonomous system strategic document and related discussions with Army Future Land Warfare division.
A collaborative agreement was formed with Professor Saeid Nahavandi, the Director of Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI), and his team at Deakin University to develop a platform agnostic Autonomous Leader-Follower capability with obstacle avoidance using the in-service HX40M vehicle.
Through a co-design process with stakeholders in Army, the project team at IISRI developed a comprehensive project chart, along with the associated tasks map and technology maps that included all the technical specifications, anticipated functionalities, and verification and validation procedures.
All these project components were continuously refined and turned into actionable tasks and milestone deliverables, with a concise timeline and a precise budget estimation for project execution and progress monitoring.
Deakin University and Future Land Warfare subsequently demonstrated a convoy of five autonomous vehicles capable of driverless navigation and trajectory-following operations with advanced obstacle detection and collision avoidance - positioning the Australian Army ahead of the world in robotic and autonomous system technologies.
RAAF Jericho Dawn 18-8 Seeing Machines from Defence’s Innovation Hub and Air Warfare Centre and Seeing Machines
Substandard monitoring of instruments and the environment by trainee pilots is a contributor to the failure rate on course. There is limited ability to determine where trainee pilots are looking, and to ascertain their collection and assimilation of information.
Traditionally this has been accomplished by observing performance parameters and then determining attention by inference. If a technology could monitor trainee’s gaze, however, the trainee could be better coached.
Jericho Dawn 18-8, sponsored by RAAF’s Institute of Aviation Medicine and Air Warfare Centre, investigated the viability of incorporating such technologies into the training of ADF personnel. The objective of the project was to develop a training capability aimed at enhancing the training outcomes of Lead-In Fighter Training pilot candidates.
In October 2018 Seeing Machines entered into a Jericho Dawn agreement with the Commonwealth to deliver a research outcome surrounding the use of an eye-tracking system (Seeing Machines Crew Training System).
78 Wing, Seeing Machines (an Australian corporation with Canberra headquarters), and CAE (as Simulator manufacturer and support provider) developed a technical solution that was discreet, in order to permit ongoing training in an aircraft-representative cockpit; robust, given the system would be installed in an operational training environment without Seeing Machines personnel onsite; and integrated, to be usable and reliable within the Instructor Operating Station.
In December 2020 there was a final Jericho Dawn demonstration to ADF stakeholders, industry, and Coalition forces that was a success in demonstrating the nascent potential of Crew Training System in an operational training environment.
Congratulations to both finalists and we look forward to announcing a winner on October 18.