Advance Queensland funds new Trusted Autonomous Systems Projects

Queensland’s robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems sector has been boosted thanks to significant funding from the state government.

The Advance Queensland – Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) grant has been awarded to three game-changing and researched-backed projects.

These industry-led projects will increase the state’s capacity to build robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence hardware and software.

Two of the projects involve the preservation of cultural art and language in Indigenous communities in north Queensland.

TAS CEO Professor Jason Scholz said its ongoing partnership with the state government highlighted both organisations’ continued leadership in drone and AI technology to grow small businesses in regional areas.

Professor Scholz said, “TAS and Advance Queensland is investing in RAS-AI projects with industry, non-profit organisations and universities to develop data and AI project methodologies for secure and trusted AI.”

TAS Chief Scientist Dr Kate Devitt said, “The technologies and methods developed, as well as the AI governance mechanisms applied, would place the state at the forefront of international best practice.”

The first project, led by KJR with the Western Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, will work on human-machine teaming to identify and protect high-value cultural assets. Other partners on the project are Athena AI, Emesent, Flyfreely, MaxusAI, the Australian National University, University of Queensland, and Griffith University.

The second project is a collaboration between Revolution Aerospace and the Queensland University of Technology. The team will work on a low-cost cognitive electronic system hosted on an Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The third project from Pama Language Centre and the University of Queensland, will focus on developing AI and automation in language technologies, with speech communities and providing training.

The grants were awarded after an extensive competitive process. Each will run for two years, until December 2023.

Project details

Human-machine teaming to identify and protect high value cultural assets

KJR and partners (Western Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, Athena AI, Emesent, Flyfreely, MaxusAI, World of Drones Education Pty Ltd, and Griffith University) will develop a secure multi-platform human-machine teaming capability in Queensland through using semi-autonomous drones for data capture and machine learning for image classification to identify and protect Western Yalanji rock art.

Cognitive Payloads for Small UAV 

Revolution Aerospace and Queensland University of Technology are teaming with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to build a low-cost cognitive electronic system hosted on an Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

AI and automation in language technologies: securing Queensland’s data sovereignty.

Pama Language Centre (PLC) and Janet Wiles, Ben Foley, and Ben Matthews at UQ will collaborate on a series of projects with speech communities. They will be designing, developing and evaluating new language technologies including a digital asset manager for language resources, tools to support sharing of augmented reality assets, and workshops to build capacity and resource creation. It will also extend the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) Transcription Acceleration Project (TAP) application of ‘transfer learning’ for speech recognition, aimed at reducing the training data and time needed to develop novel speech recognition systems. An example of an existing PLC project utilising Augmented Reality is available here.

Building QLD capability

The industry-led projects will build robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence hardware and software. They will achieve:

  • Transdisciplinary research impact and sovereign capability in smart, resilient, and deployable systems in congested and variable data environments.
  • Next generation AI/Machine Learning (ML) methods and apply research into deployable systems
  • New models of data governance, data sovereignty, and assurance of ML pipelines
  • Technology integration to build trusted autonomy
  • Best practice ethical AI through participatory design
  • Digital regulatory approvals

Outputs from the projects will include:

  • AI Integration, augmented reality, advanced signal processing, AI classifier acceleration, AI language technologies, AI to aid in preserving cultural assets, and education materials/programs to train regional workers in use of next gen technologies
  • AI for Sovereign capability, Defence and regional Queensland communities
  • Technologies, frameworks, and methodologies developed in these projects are applicable to Defence AI and autonomy requirements as per the 2020 Strategic Update and Defence Data Strategy 2021-2023.