HAPS Challenge Announced


‘The High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) Challenge is seeking Australian Industry and research interest in developing novel ideas and solutions to a capability gap. It aims to energise Australian development of key technologies and to support development of Australian HAPS that have the station-keeping capability and endurance capacity needed for deployment over an area of operations for a period of days to weeks and beyond’.


High altitude platforms, or pseudo-satellites (HAPS), are uncrewed vehicles that take advantage of weak stratospheric winds and solar energy to operate without interfering with current commercial aviation. This provides the endurance required to provide long-term services to terrestrial users, much as satellites do. Target applications for HAPS include communications, Earth observation, positioning-navigation and science with potential for more applications in other disciplines.

HAPS represent a unique opportunity, if appropriately deployed and controlled, to provide persistent, comparatively low-cost intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications services across a wide operational area for Defence and National Security. The development of a sovereign  Australian HAPS solution could provide Defence a secure capability supply chain to service tactical, operational and strategic command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C3ISR) requirements and boost Australian exports.

Several challenges must be overcome to effectively exploit high altitude pseudo satellites, the purpose of the HAPS challenge to address this technology gap by supporting development of this technology by Australian companies.  Defence (through the RAAF Plan Jericho and the Air Warfare Centre, Defence Artificial Intelligence (DAI), Trusted Autonomous Systems and RMIT (Sir Lawrence Wackett Defence and Aerospace Centre) are seeking industry and research interest from Australian companies in novel ideas and solutions.

Air Warfare Centre, Integration and Innovation Director Group Captain Tobyn Bearman said Air Force is supporting the Australian efforts to prototype capable and affordable sovereign High Altitude Pseudo Satellite technologies.

“Work in this area seeks to enhance the quality and resilience of our high altitude capabilities by identifying creative solutions to difficult problems and pushing the boundaries of engineering knowledge,” he said.

“This challenge is an exciting way to contribute to Australia’s security and defence in new ways”.

More information on how to become involved in this exciting opportunity is available at https://www.rmit.edu.au/defence-aerospace/haps-challenge

Trusted Autonomous Systems receive funding from the Australian Government through the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) and the Queensland Government Advance Queensland Initiative.

SmartSat CRC is supported by the Australian Government CRC Program and the Department of Defence Next Generation Technologies Fund.

Contact for Enquiries: HAPS.Challenge@tasdcrc.com.au

Autonomous Marine Systems Fundamentals for Marine Surveyors

Trusted Autonomous Systems and the Queensland AI Hub supported the delivery of a world first pilot course ‘Autonomous Marine Systems Fundamentals for Marine Surveyors’ by the Australian Maritime College Search (AMC Search). The course ran at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville on 29 and 30 March.

The course introduces participants to autonomous and unmanned vessel technology, key terminology, operating concepts and system capabilities, limitations and risks. The participants were existing qualified accredited Marine Surveyors and other professionals, including representatives of Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Port of Townsville and Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ), who will benefit from increasing their knowledge and understanding of Autonomous Marine Systems.

The course enabled participants to more effectively undertake survey and other assurance and accreditation activities relating to autonomous and unmanned vessel technology. By upskilling ten accredited marine surveyors and professionals, this pilot course will address a gap in the current assurance and accreditation framework for autonomous marine systems.

This pilot course will make it more efficient and effective for Queensland businesses to build, test and certify their autonomous marine systems. It is a key opportunity to utilise the AIMS maritime facility and to borrow on the AI expertise of TAS and AMC Search. These learnings may then lead to additional opportunities to accelerate autonomous maritime systems development in Queensland as part of our commitment to the Smart Drone State.

This world first Autonomous Systems Training for Marine Surveyors was developed in partnership between Australian Maritime College Search (AMC Search), Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS), Queensland AI Hub and Australian
Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

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