Flinders University student Scott Hutchinson is playing a part in developing the new technology of Unmanned Surface Vessels, working with global defence company Saab Australia at Technology Park under a State Government industry scholarship program.
The third-year computer systems student is one of the first-round recipients of Defence and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) internships announced this week by the Minister for Science and Information Economy Gail Gago.
“The internships provide university students with opportunities to work directly with the defence and STEM sectors to enhance their skills and improve their career and employment prospects,” Ms Gago said.
The internship adds 20 weeks’ experience to Scott’s degree, working at Saab’s Global Centre of Excellence in Autonomous Vessels (CEAV) where he is focusing on research and development into collision detection capabilities for Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV).
The Saab team at Mawson Lakes has been designing and developing a low-cost, flexible Mission System (the electronics or brains of the system) for USV, named Bonefish™, which can be applied to a multitude of hulls for different operations.
“USV are an emerging technology in an emerging developing market,” says Dr Derek Rogers, the Programme Manager and Engineering Manager at the Mawson Lakes research centre.
“USV have a wide range of possible applications, primarily for the so-called ‘dull, dirty and dangerous’ jobs.
“This could range from surveillance protection of northern waters of Australia for illegal fishing activities, to scientific research related to oceanography and hydrography, to anti-submarine warfare and mine counter-measures, to protecting and supplying offshore oilrigs, and even dangerous search and rescue operations.”
Dr Rogers says the defence giant is “exploring the market potential for USV and current market validation activities will guide the next phase of development.”
Scott Hutchinson, whose academic supervisor is Associate Professor Karl Sammut, the director of the Centre of Maritime Engineering, Control and Imaging at Flinders Tonsley, said he is enjoying his project at Saab.
Entitled “Sensor Performance Modelling and data fusion for Autonomous Surface Vessels,” Scott’s project will focus on collision detection research, combining information from a variety of sensors such as radar, laser, optical and an Automatic Identification System to help the USV avoid collisions with other vessels.
The Flinders Centre of Maritime Engineering also has a USV that has participated in the RobotX competition and the FMCE team and Saab regularly exchange information, as featured in a Channel 7 News story.
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