Public consultation commences on draft Australian Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Survey and Operation of Autonomous & Remotely Operated Vessels

New future thinking paper: Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels: 2021 to 2040

By Rachel Horne, Assurance of Autonomy Activity Lead, TAS

“Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels: 2021 to 2040” [1] is a newly published paper considering the future of autonomous vessels. It forms part of the Maritime Industry Australia Limited (MIAL) Future Leaders White Paper: Predictions for the Australian Maritime Industry 2040.

The paper considers: What are autonomous vessels? How are they regulated? Why is regulation so difficult and what can we change to make it easier? A central focus for the discussion is how we might accelerate development of autonomous vessels with a focus on building sovereign capability and what success in this sector would mean for the Australian autonomous systems ecosystem in 2040.

New future thinking paper: Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels: 2021 to 2040

New future thinking paper: Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels: 2021 to 2040

The paper aims to introduce autonomous vessels and the opportunities and challenges the technology presents for Australia, in a way that is accessible and thought-provoking. It explores a broad range of topics and issues related to autonomous vessels, starting with background on what these vessels are and why they are used, what their benefits are, and the features we will likely see by 2040 commercially and within Defence, and then moving on to impact on workforce, the current regulatory framework and conceptually difficult areas, and concluding with a range of proposed solutions.

 

Predictions for the Australian maritime industry in 2040

The paper includes six predictions for the Australian maritime industry in 2040, extracted below:

  1. Minimally crewed vessels with a spectrum of autonomous capabilities will be a normalised part of the commercial vessel fleet operating for routine passenger transport, movement of goods, scientific research, and tourism. The police, border protection and Defence agencies will have significant numbers of semi-autonomous and autonomous vessels in their fleets.
  2. A Maritime Water Space Management System (MWSPS) will have been implemented to manage allocation of surface and subsurface water space and interaction between smart vessels.
  3. The deconfliction service offered through the MWSPS, together with advanced navigation, sensing, and inter-vessel communication technologies, will enable minimal-crewing, and multiple semi-or fully-autonomous vessels to be supervised remotely by single operators, due to the significant reduction in collision risk.
  4. A new Commonwealth Government entity, ‘Australian Complex Autonomous Systems Safety Authority’ (ACASSA) will set the standards and conduct assurance activities for the “black box” behind autonomous and semi-autonomous systems, for each of the air, land and maritime domains. Two way secondments between ACASSA and traditional regulators will ensure a seamless experience for stakeholders, consistent regulatory and policy development, and the upskilling of staff.
  5. “RegTech” concepts will be implemented by the ACASSA to enable continuous background monitoring of AI-based autonomous systems, using risk thresholds to determine input required by the operator, and enabling non-intrusive compliance checks.
  6. Australian Ports are able to accommodate large international trading vessels with advanced autonomy on board, and the integration of Vessel Traffic Services with the Maritime Water Space Management System have reduced the workload of VTS operators and vessel crew, reduced incidents, and improved efficiency. [2]

 

How can the 2040 vision be achieved?

The paper argues that change, led by Government and supported by industry, is needed to ensure the maritime industry can access the range of benefits autonomous technology offers into the future. Collaboration, and a focus on new regulatory approaches, upskilling the maritime workforce, and smart ports, are all central to achieving the 2040 vision.

The paper concludes:

Autonomous and remotely operated vessels are already in operation in Australia and around the world, and their capability and availability are rapidly growing. It is predicted that, by 2040, these vessels will be an integrated, integral part of the Australian maritime industry, leading to safer, more efficient, maritime operations, with less environmental impact. However, to achieve that vision, significant effort from Government, the maritime industry, and other stakeholders must be invested to put in place the regulatory frameworks, qualifications frameworks, skills base, and port facilities, that are required.

Transitioning from 2021 to the vision for 2040 will require the advancements contained within the diagram below.

Australian Autonomous Vessel Ecosystem in 2040

These advancements are within Australia’s reach, if a proactive, coordinated effort, led by Government and incorporating industry and the community is enacted.

If this effort is not put in now, for example because of distrust for new technology, fear about the impact on jobs, an inability to depart from ‘the way it has always been done’, or simply disinterest from the Australian Government, other countries, particularly those with more developed technological capability, will seize the advantage, and monopolise the opportunities on the table. Leveraging Australia’s talented technologists and innovators, maintaining a strong focus on building sovereign capability through multidisciplinary activities, and a Government-led, multi-domain effort to revamp Australia’s regulatory approach to emerging technology, will position the Australian maritime industry to take full advantage of the spectrum of safety, environment, efficiency, and economic benefits of autonomous systems technology. [3]

“In other words, to fully realise the potential of autonomous shipping, the development technologies must be deemed valuable by the wider marine industry as well as the society as a whole.” (Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications – AAWA initiative)

 

What is TAS doing that supports the vision identified in this paper?

In addition to facilitating the development of game changing trusted autonomous systems technology, Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) also has two common-good activities: A1 Ethics and Law of Trusted Autonomous Systems and A2 Assurance of Autonomy. These activities, funded by Queensland Government, provide support and resources to TAS participants and broader commercial and Defence stakeholders.

Under the A2 Assurance of Autonomy Activity, the National Accreditation Support Facility Pathfinder Project (NASF-P) is delivering the following:

The NASF-P has already:

Under the A2 Assurance of Autonomy Activity, the Enabling Agile Assurance of Drones in Queensland project is delivering smart digital regulatory tools to enhance efficiency and communication amongst operators and regulators, facilitating innovation and driving growth in industry.

To find out more about the projects underway at TAS please visit our website, or contact info@tasdcrc.com.au.

 

References

[1] Horne, R. (2021). Autonomous and remotely operated vessels 2021 to 2040. MIAL Future Leaders White Paper. Predictions for the Australian Maritime Industry 2040. Maritime Industry Australia Limited. pp.12-27

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Ibid.,

[4] Ibid.,

 

TAS Report: Analysis of available standards and codes for autonomous and remotely operated vessels

Rachel Horne, Assurance of Autonomy Activity Lead, Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS)

Autonomous systems offer the ability to increase safety and efficiency while lowering environmental and economic costs. In the last five years, there has been a rapid acceleration in the capacity and availability of autonomous and remotely operated vessels. Autonomous systems need to be trusted by government, regulators, operators and the broader community if this rapid acceleration is to continue and to ensure this technology can integrate into commercial and defence operations. An integral part of gaining trust is having consistent assurance requirements, and a clear, tailored regulatory framework.

The Queensland Government has identified the safety, environmental, and economic opportunities of addressing the assurance and accreditation challenges for autonomous systems, resulting in funding for the Assurance of Autonomy Activity through Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS)[1]. This Activity: “…aims to unlock Queensland’s, and by extension Australia’s, capacity for translating autonomous system innovation into operational capability, leveraging regulatory and technical expertise and strong stakeholder relationships to support industry and regulators.”[2]

To support the development of a clear, tailored, regulatory framework, TAS is leading the development of an Australian Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Survey and Operation of Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels (Australian Code of Practice), supported by Maaike Vanderkooi of Vanderkooi Consulting. The Australian Code of Practice will represent best practice and is intended to provide certainty for industry by providing clear standards, tailored for the type of vessels and operations common in Australia. The Australian Code of Practice will be voluntary and will be updated periodically. It is hoped that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which has been closely consulted throughout this project, will recognise the Code and in the future consider incorporating it into their regulatory framework.

There are several codes, standards, and guidelines already available internationally for autonomous and remotely operated vessels. The first step in the development of an Australian Code of Practice is understanding the leading existing codes, standards and guidelines, considering them in an Australian context, and then determining whether any of these documents, or specific approaches they take, could be tailored for use in an Australian context. Recognising the importance of this step, TAS engaged Maaike Vanderkooi of Vanderkooi Consulting to prepare a Report (“Analysis of Available Standards and Codes for Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels”), as the first stage in the project to develop the Australian Code of Practice.

Report: Analysis of Available Standards and Codes for Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels

The Report analyses:

  • the UK Code of Practice for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships[3];
  • the LR Code for Unmanned Marine Systems[4]; and
  • DNV GL’s Autonomous and Remotely-operated Ships Class Guideline[5].

As part of the analysis of these documents, the Report seeks to:

  • understand the structure and requirements of each of the codes;
  • identify the differences and similarities between the codes; and
  • consider the codes in the Australian regulatory context.

The below is extracted from pages 81-82 of the Report

“The report finds that:

  • an Australian Code of Practice for autonomous and remotely operated vessels should align with the regulatory framework that already exists for conventional domestic vessels;
  • the three available codes focus largely on vessels which comply with international conventions or Class Rules; and
  • this is different to the context for an Australian Code of Practice, which will be tailored towards commercial vessels operating only in Australian waters.

For this reason, none of the available codes and standards considered in this report provide a template that could be tailored for use in Australia with only minor modifications.

However, each of the three available codes will significantly influence the content of the Australian code. This report uses the analysis of the three available codes and standards to identify the standards or requirements that should apply to autonomous vessels, beyond the requirements of conventional vessel standards. This will include tailored requirements for:

  • situational awareness;
  • control systems;
  • software integrity and testing; and
  • safe states.

This report also finds that the operational requirements that apply to conventional vessels in Australia should apply to autonomous and remotely operated vessels, with some differences:

  • the safety management system requirements need to be tailored to autonomous and remote vessel operations;
  • the minimum crew and crew competency requirements will need to be modified; and
  • there will be additional requirements for contingency planning and control hierarchies, which should be informed by the content of the three available codes and standards.

In line with the available codes and standards, a risk analysis approach, which focuses on the impact of potential failures, should apply to the development and testing of novel systems on the vessel, including the systems for situational awareness and control and all systems which do not meet the requirements of the conventional vessel standards.

Finally, this report notes that the baseline requirement of each of the available codes and standards is for an autonomous or remotely operated vessel to be ‘as safe as’ a conventional vessel. Given that the scope of the Australian code will include very small, low risk autonomous marine equipment, whether or not this baseline approach is appropriate for all vessels subject to the Australian code will need to be considered as part of the consultation process on the development of the Australian code.”

Since this report has been completed, the project has identified the underpinning principles for the draft Australian Code of Practice, using stakeholder consultation to refine and ensure they are fit for purpose[6] (complete) and drafted the Australian Code of Practice (complete).

Next steps

1.     Undertake consultation on the draft Australian Code of Practice with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (underway);

2.     Undertake public consultation on the draft Australian Code of Practice to ensure it is fit for purpose and will be as useful as possible for Australian industry (expected mid-November 2021); and

3.     Finalise and release edition one of the Australian Code of Practice with accompanying guidance material (expected early 2022).

TAS intends to release edition one of the Australian Code of Practice with accompanying guidance material via our website and it will likely also appear directly on AMSA’s website. Feedback on the Australian Code of Practice can be provided directly to either TAS or AMSA to inform continued iterative development. 

If you would like to contact us in relation to the TAS Code of Practice project, to offer feedback, suggestions, or request more information, please email us at info@tasdcrc.com.au.

[1] Trusted Autonomous Systems, 2021, Assurance of Autonomy Activity

[2] Trusted Autonomous Systems, 2021, Assurance of Autonomy Activity

[3] Maritime UK, 2020, Being a Responsible Industry, Maritime Autonomous Ship Systems (MASS) UK Industry Conduct, Principles and Code of Practice, A Voluntary Code (Version 4)

[4] Lloyd’s Register, 2017, LR Code for Unmanned Marine Systems

[5] DNV GL, 2018, DNV class guidelines: Autonomous and remotely operated ships, DNVGL-CG-0264

[6] Information on these principles and the consultation undertaken available here: Vanderkooi, M. and Horne, R., 2021, Outcomes of a successful webinar on TAS’s project to develop an Australian Code of Practice in 2021

 

 

TAS Hosts Regulator Roundtable and Showcase Event 6-7 October 2021

On 6 and 7 October, Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) will virtually host the Trusted Autonomous Systems Regulator Roundtable and Showcase Event with senior executives from commercial and defence autonomous systems regulatory bodies. Participant include representatives from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA), Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Infrastructure), Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ), National Transport Commission (NTC), the Office of the Defence Seaworthiness Regulator (ODSwR) and Queensland Government.  The roundtable will also be briefed by representatives of Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) and QinetiQ on maritime and aerial test facilities for autonomous systems.

TAS are hosting this event as part of its broader efforts to support the growing Australian autonomous systems ecosystem by identifying and addressing key hurdles in the assurance and accreditation frameworks for autonomous systems and connecting stakeholders to broaden understanding of issues and effect meaningful change.

Aims of the Trusted Autonomous Systems Regulator Roundtable and Showcase Event are:

  • Facilitating increased awareness amongst commercial and defence regulators of the growing autonomous systems industry in Australia,
  • Encouraging shared conversations and understanding of key regulatory issues, opportunities, and approaches, between commercial and defence regulators and key Commonwealth and Queensland agencies,
  • Facilitating increased awareness of TAS’ work to support the assurance and accreditation frameworks for autonomous systems and the role of Queensland testing facilities,
  • Increasing prioritisation by regulators of autonomous systems related regulatory, policy, and operational requirements and issues, and
  • Building momentum for future regulatory pathways for autonomous systems in Australia across all domains.

If you want to know more or want to contribute to the work being undertaken by TAS you can contact the TAS Assurance of Autonomy team on NASFP@tasdcrc.com.au

Enabling COLREGs Compliance for Autonomous & Remotely Operated Vessels

By Robert Dickie1and Rachel Horne2

1Group Leader, Systems Safety & Assurance, Frazer Nash Consultancy Ltd 

2Assurance of Autonomy Activity Lead, Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS)

Autonomous vessels of various sizes, forms and speeds are already at sea, on the surface and beneath it. The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs), published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1960 and updated in 1972, govern the ‘rules of the road’ at sea. COLREGs describe the features that vessels must have to facilitate being seen and identified, define means of communication between vessels for the purposes of signaling intent, and most importantly they describe the navigational behaviors expected of vessels in proximity to one another, for the purposes of avoiding collision. It’s clear from the terms and phrases used in COLREGs that the authors didn’t conceive of navigational or operational decisions being made by computers, and compliance for autonomous vessels is difficult and not well-understood.

Autonomous systems technology does not replicate humans, it emulates some of their skills using a different set of ‘senses’ and decision-making processes and brings new capabilities to operations. This means that humans and autonomous technologies have different weaknesses, strengths, risks and mitigations.

The autonomous maritime industry has been wrestling with the challenge of ‘compliance’ with COLREGs for years, in terms of both understanding how it applies, and how to demonstrate compliance. The challenge for the designer or operator of an autonomous vessel is that the regulations are phrased from the underlying assumption that a human is operating the vessel. Where an autonomous control system is performing some or all of the functions a human previously would have been, it can be difficult to work out what constitutes ‘compliance’, in a practical sense, and in a way that the regulator, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), would accept. This difficulty can lead to additional costs, delay, and operations which are subject to more limitations than may be reasonable based on the actual risks presented.

Developing one-off COLREGs compliance cases for a single autonomous vessel is onerous for the designer or operator, and also causes AMSA difficulty in terms of the resources required to assess the compliance case, and ensure consistency in regulatory decision making. There are significant efficiencies to be gained for designers, operators, and regulators of autonomous vessels in the development of a repeatable compliance framework designed to reduce these burdens.

New TAS project to address COLREGs challenge

The TAS Assurance of Autonomy team have commenced a new project aimed at addressing the COLREGs challenge by developing an enabling framework which supports a practical and appropriate level of compliance for autonomous vessels. The project, known as the ‘TAS COLREGs project’, will consider the specific risks posed by the full spectrum of autonomous vessels, thus allowing flexibility in the operator’s approach to compliance. In order to provide maximum usefulness and future proofing, the approach will be to offer a range of risk mitigation options which address the ‘spirit’ of COLREGs, rather than defining a set of performance requirements or specification with which all autonomous vessels much comply.

 

Figure 1: Guiding principles for the TAS COLREGs project

The guiding principles for the TAS COLREGs project (see Figure 1) are:

  • The compliance methodology will be repeatable and scalable across a broad range of autonomous vessels.
  • The underpinning philosophy of the compliance methodology will be logical, reasoned and justified by argument.
  • The compliance methodology will be enabling rather than constraining whilst upholding the purpose and spirit of COLREGs.
  • The process followed to use the compliance methodology will be simple to follow and supported by guidance.
  • The project aims to develop a methodology which can be agreed to by the regulator.

Outputs of the TAS COLREGs project includes an operational tool and user guidance.

Stakeholder engagement will occur over the coming weeks to ensure the tool is fit for purpose and considered acceptable and appropriate by AMSA. This tool will be trialed with a variety of autonomous vessels in 2021, and then refined as necessary, before being released.

The TAS COLREGs project is being delivered by Frazer-Nash Consultancy and led by Robert Dickie, with the support of Marceline Overduin and Andrejs Jaudzems. Robert has extensive experience in the assurance of maritime autonomous systems, having been a member of the UK Maritime Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group (MASRWG) and having developed the initial draft of the Lloyd’s Register Code for Un-crewed Marine Systems.

Robert Dickie, Frazer-Nash Consultancy

The output of the TAS COLREGs project will be available on the TAS website as a useful resource for designers and operators in the form of a repeatable COLREGs compliance framework, supported by a tool and user companion guide.

The COLREGs resource will also be included in the Body of Knowledge Toolbox being developed by the TAS Assurance of Autonomy team under the National Accreditation Support Facility Pathfinder Project (NASF-P), which will assist designers, operators, regulators, and other stakeholders in the Australian autonomous systems ecosystem to navigate the assurance and accreditation process for autonomous systems efficiently and successfully.

If you would like to contact us in relation to the TAS COLREGs project, to offer feedback, suggestions, or request more information, please email us at NASFP@tasdcrc.com.au.

Outcomes of successful webinar on TAS’s project to develop an Australian Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Survey and Operation of Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels in 2021

By Maaike Vanderkooi and Rachel Horne

The Webinar

As part of Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) project to develop an Australian Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Survey and Operation of Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels, TAS held a Webinar on the project on Monday 5 July 2021. 50 stakeholders attended the Webinar, including a mix of small, medium and large industry members, accredited marine surveyors, class societies, and universities.

During the Webinar, we presented the key findings of our review of the currently available codes of practice and standards for autonomous and remotely operated vessels, including our review of the:

Informed by these findings, we then outlined proposed principles to underpin the Australian Code of Practice, and provided information on the proposed direction of the Australian Code of Practice in key areas.

The presentation provided at the Webinar, including a summary of our findings, is available here TAS Code of Practice Presentation.

Codes in Australian context, part of the linked presentation.

Attendees also had an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation. A summary of the questions asked and answers provided is available here TAS Code of Practice Webinar – Q and A.

Upcoming online workshops

Online workshops will be held in late July on draft content for the Australian Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Survey and Operation of Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels. These workshops will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to the development of the Code by providing feedback on the draft content as well as more general input and ideas. It is essential that the Code is applicable and useful for the Australian maritime autonomous systems industry, and TAS is working closely with stakeholders, including AMSA, to achieve this vision.

Each workshop is directed towards a particular stakeholder group – see the list below – but you may register for any of the workshops.

Please only register for one workshop – they will all cover the same material. We are keeping each workshop to a manageable number of participants to ensure there is plenty of opportunity for everyone to provide their feedback and input.

New Workshops added due to demand (all stakeholders welcome):

Workshop 6:  Wednesday 28 July, 10.30pm – 12pm (New)

Register here:  https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/162624996743

Workshop 7:  Wednesday 28 July, 1pm – 2:30pm (New)

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/162626051899

Places remaining:

Workshop 4:  Monday 26 July, 10am – 11.30am (Limited positions remaining)

Workshop 4 is primarily aimed at accredited marine surveyors and Class Societies, but is open to all interested stakeholders.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/161043765237

Workshop 5:  Monday 26 July, 12.30pm – 2pm (Limited Positions remaining)

Workshop 5 is primarily aimed at creators of autonomous technology, ship and equipment builders, and vessel operators, but open to all interested stakeholders.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/161042022023

Sold out:

Workshop 1:  Thursday 22 July, 12.30pm – 2pm

Workshop 1 is primarily aimed at creators of autonomous technology, ship and equipment builders, and vessel operators, but is open to all interested stakeholders. Full

Workshop 2:  Friday 23 July, 10am – 11.30pm

Workshop 2 is primarily aimed at Defence, Defence industry and government stakeholders, but is open to all interested stakeholders. Full

Workshop 3: Friday 23 July, 12.30pm – 2pm

Workshop 3 is primarily aimed at accredited marine surveyors and Class Societies, but is open to all interested stakeholders. Full

If you would like to find out more about our work, or provide feedback on where you see the key risks and opportunities for the autonomous systems industry in Australia, please contact us as NASFP@tasdcrc.com.au

New TAS project to develop a Detect and Avoid (DAA) Design, Test and Evaluation (DT&E) standard for low-risk, uncontrolled airspace outside the airport environment

By Tom Putland – Director of Autonomy Accreditation – Air

The development of best practice policy, appropriate standards, and a strong assurance and accreditation culture has the potential to enhance innovation and support market growth for drones with autonomous abilities in the maritime, air and land domains.

The Trusted Autonomous Systems  (TAS) National Accreditation Support Facility Pathfinder Project (NASF-P), under the Assurance of Autonomy Activity, represents an opportunity to unlock Queensland’s, and by extension Australia’s, capacity for translating autonomous system innovation into deployments, given the existing test facilities operating in Queensland, the existing industry need identified and strong government backing.

The overarching purpose of the NASF-P is to:

  • Make it easier to design, build, test, assure, accredit, and operate an autonomous system in Australia, without compromising safety; and
  • Support and promote Queensland’s existing test ranges; and
  • Encourage both domestic and international business to operate in, and use Queensland as a base for the purpose of testing, assuring, and accrediting autonomous systems; and
  • Investigate, design, and facilitate the creation of an appropriate, independent third party entity that can continue to support the design, build, test, assurance, accreditation, and operation of autonomous system in Australia, by bridging the gap between industry, operators, and regulators.

New project: Development of a DAA DT&E standard

In the air domain specifically, the largest impediment to the integration of unmanned aircraft (regardless of autonomy) into the National Airspace System (NAS) is complying with the intent[1] of the See and Avoid (SAA) requirements detailed within Regulations 163 and 163A of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (Cth), particularly in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. In lieu of a solution, operators and the regulator must go through a labour-intensive stakeholder engagement process with all aviation parties to prevent mid-air collisions. This approach will not scale to the projected numbers of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operations into the future.

An autonomous/highly automated DAA system that complies with the safety objectives of CAR 163 and CAR 163A is a key enabling technology for integration into complex Australian airspace and will form an integral part of the safety assurance framework for UAS operations into the future.

The TAS team have initiated a new project, led by Revolution Aerospace, to develop a new Detect and Avoid (DAA) Design, Test and Evaluation (DT&E) standard for low-risk, uncontrolled airspace outside the airport environment. This is particularly relevant to Australian unmanned aircraft operations.

Dr Terry Martin (CEO) and the Revolution Aerospace team have a wealth of world-leading experience in Detect and Avoid, Machine Learning, Safety Assurance, Verification & Validation (V&V), and Test & Evaluation (T&E), representing Australia at international forums such as NATO, JARUS, and RTCA (to name a few).

Dr Terrence Martin, CEO of Revolution Aerospace

Terry is supported in this project by TAS’s Tom Putland – Director of Autonomy Assurance in the Air Domain. Tom has extensive experience in the regulation and safety assurance of UAS, having previously worked for CASA, and being CASA’s representative at JARUS and other international working groups. This team has the expertise, drive, and ability to solve this critical airspace problem for Australia.

Tom Putland, Director of Autonomy Assurance – Air at TAS

DT&E standard will create a process acceptable to CASA[2] that allows:

  • the derivation of high-level safety objectives; and
  • development of Verification and Validation (V&V) requirements; and
  • the conduct of relevant simulations and tests to demonstrate compliance with the safety objectives; and
  • the collation of compliance process and data into a package to support regulators (e.g. CASA) in issuing an approval for the operation.

TAS will engage closely with key stakeholders, including CASA, the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems (AAUS) and other industry members to ensure the process reflects current best practice, and is appropriate and useful for the Australian aviation industry. The intent is for the new process to be available for testing by the end of the year.

Upon completion of this project a subsequent project will be undertaken to work with industry partners and the Queensland Flight Test Range, Australia’s first and only commercial flight test range, to utilise and comply with this standard. Completion of these projects will increase the access and flexibility available for unmanned aircraft operations in Australian airspace.

If you are interested in learning more about these projects, be involved as an industry test partner, or discuss specifics (i.e. EO/IR sensing, classifiers/learning assurance, alerting and avoidance logic, formal verification, T&E), please email tom.putland@tasdcrc.com.au.

Other NASF-P projects underway

The NASF-P team have a number of projects underway, including:

  • Preparation of a Body of Knowledge on the assurance and accreditation of autonomous systems;
  • Maritime domain: development of a repeatable, regulator-accepted methodology to demonstrate compliance with COLREGS for autonomous and remotely operated vessels; and
  • Preparation of a business case for a new, independent, National Accreditation Support Facility, based in Queensland, that will better connect operators and regulators to facilitate more efficient assurance and accreditation.

If you would like to find out more about our work, or provide feedback on where you see the key risks and opportunities for the autonomous systems industry in Australia, please contact us as NASFP@tasdcrc.com.au.

 

[1] Through an approval under Subregulation 101.073(2) and Regulation 101.029 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (Cth).

[2] Regular engagement with CASA will assist to ensure the final process is acceptable to them, but note it has not been approved  at this point in time. In the future, the process is intended to form part of an acceptable means of compliance for a BVLOS approval.

Second Line of Defence article – Defence Industry and Working with Defence in Shaping a Way Ahead for Autonomous Systems

As Scholz put it in our interview, with the Centre’s focus on the “smart, the small and the many”, compared with traditional “complex, large and few” manned systems, code rewriting can be much faster.

Defence Industry and Working with Defence in Shaping a Way Ahead for Autonomous Systems‘ (Robbin Laird, 8 June 21) 

TAS and RASAI feature in two Defence Info Articles – May/June 2021

TAS feature in articles ’The Integrated Distributed Maritime Force: The Impact of Maritime Autonomous Systems’  (Robbin Laird, 29 May 21) and ‘Shaping the way ahead for RAS, ADF Force Development‘ (Robbin Laird, 1 June 21).

TAS Article and Video Presentation – Second Line of Defence article, The Eco-System for Next Generation Autonomous Systems and Shaping a Way Ahead for the ADF

TAS the main focus of Second Line of Defence article, ‘The Eco-System for Next Generation Autonomous Systems and Shaping a Way Ahead for the ADF‘, based on CEO Prof. Jason Scholz presentation at the Williams Foundation earlier this year (Robbin Laird, 3 June 21).

 

The video of Prof.Scholz presentation is available on the Sir Richard Williams Foundation site.