Strategic Elements uses CSIRO tech for robot security teams
Strategic Elements subsidiary Stealth Technologies has licensed CSIRO technology that enables robots to work together in teams. The parties will initially focus on security applications and work under an Early Adopter Program (EAP) that will help Stealth integrate and commercialise the technology. The term of the EAP is 12 months. During the EAP the licence is non-exclusive and global. No consideration will be paid upfront by Stealth Technologies.
The Wildcat SLAM technology from CSIRO’s Data61 enables autonomous robots to simultaneously navigate and build high-definition maps, and to gather other sensor data in locations they are being exposed to for the first time (with no pre-existing maps).
In addition, robots can automatically share and combine information with other robots without human intervention to build a collective understanding of their global environment. Wildcat is a key enabling technology in ‘robot perception’, a system that enables robots to perceive, comprehend and reason about the surrounding environment.
When one robot encounters an obstacle or new context and learns, the entire team of robots can instantaneously learn. Wildcat also works underground and in GPS-denied environments.
Stealth Technologies is developing the autonomous security vehicle (ASV) for perimeter security in sectors such as transport, energy, defence, government and utilities providing critical services. The company is also collaborating with Honeywell to build autonomous security vehicles for the correctional justice sector.
The parties are working with the WA Department of Justice to build a fully autonomous and robotic security vehicle for the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison in Kalgoorlie to inspect, test and confirm the integrity of the secure perimeter.
CSIRO’s Data61 technology can provide a key technological advancement for Stealth, enabling its ASVs to work in teams and provide enhanced security and surveillance solutions to customers.
Deploying teams of robots often requires them to operate reliably in unstructured and dynamically changing environments, without external positioning systems such as GPS or pre-existing localisation maps. In these environments, robots must use their onboard sensors and perception algorithms to build detailed maps while simultaneously determining their location.
This technology is known as simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM). Whilst there are many approaches and a few commercially viable solutions, none of them are sufficiently robust or accurate without GPS, nor do they directly support the operation of robot teams through map sharing and cooperative localisation.
Wildcat is a versatile, robust and accurate SLAM solution. Wildcat SLAM technology can potentially provide a range of features to autonomous robotics platforms. For example, this could be where large-scale facilities require multiple ground-based security vehicles, or facilities where ground- plus airborne-based autonomous security provides enhanced benefits.
“Wildcat fits directly with the technology roadmap we are developing for our next-generation autonomous security solutions using teams of robots for enhanced patrol and surveillance capabilities,” said Charles Murphy, SOR Managing Director.
Wildcat is designed as a research and development platform for autonomous field robots and a commercially ready solution for industrial applications. Stealth will incorporate Wildcat technology into its ASV research and development program and investigate the potential to provide team-based autonomous mapping and navigation commercial solutions for security applications. Features will be progressively implemented into the Stealth AxV Autonomous Robotics Platform over the next several quarters.
During the length of the EAP, Stealth may sell products and solutions to distributors or end users that contain the Wildcat technology. Commercial gains received by Stealth Technologies from the Wildcat technology during the EAP will attract a fee to be paid to CSIRO. After 12 months, the EAP will cease and the parties may choose to transition this arrangement to a full commercial licence.
Stealth will receive access to new Wildcat Technology features released by CSIRO during the EAP, with CSIRO providing basic integration support, training and ongoing support for data processing and de-bugging.
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