TAS General Manager – Law, Regulation and Assurance a finalist at Women in Defence Awards

Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) General Manager – Law, Regulation and Assurance and QUT PhD candidate Rachel Horne was last night honoured to be recognised as a finalist in the Research and Development category at the Australian Defence Magazine Women in Defence Awards 2023.

Rachel said she was delighted to be nominated for her work developing regulatory initiatives to support more efficient regulatory pathways for autonomous systems used by Defence and the commercial sector.

“I am passionate about promoting a better understanding of the regulatory framework that supports defence and industry to design, manufacture and operate maritime autonomous systems,” said Rachel.

“If we can implement an adaptive regulatory framework that enables, rather than restricts, then we can better support Australia in delivering innovation and world-leading defence capability.”

As part of her academic research, Rachel identified a lack of technical standards underpinning the regulation of autonomous technology.

“To address this major gap in the technical standards, I led a TAS-funded project to produce the first Australian-centric technical standard for autonomous and remotely operated vessels”.

“I also identified a need for more coordination across the diverse autonomous systems ecosystem, so I organised a national conference in 2022 on the use and regulation of emerging maritime technology”.

“The conference brought together government, defence, industry and academic stakeholders to discuss the issues we face and design solutions to address these challenges”.

“Last year, I also staged the largest commercial demonstration of emerging maritime technology in Australia, held in Townsville, to promote a better understanding of autonomous technology and raise awareness of best practice regulation.”

Rachel believes that one of the benefits of her role at TAS has been the opportunity to work on projects that are led by industry and supported by academic partners.

“This collaborative approach means our projects have a greater chance of converting innovation to capability so we can deliver better solutions faster and build sovereign industry and research capability for Defence”.

“In the future, I would like to continue my work developing regulatory initiatives that support autonomous systems innovation and wider regulatory reform.”

Rachel will present on her work at IndoPacific 2023, including as a panel member at the IndoPacific Sea Power Conference 2023, AAUS Autonomy in the Maritime Domain Conference, and International Maritime Conference.