World first drone training course for marine surveyors

The Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TAS DCRC) along with Queensland’s artificial intelligence centre the AI Hub and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) ReefWorks are delivering a pilot course for ‘Autonomous Marine Systems Fundamentals for Marine Surveyors’ on 29 and 30 March 2021 in Townsville. 

Run by the University of Tasmania-based maritime training agency AMC Search, the world-first course aims to introduce marine surveyors to autonomous and unmanned vessel technology, operating concepts and system capabilities and limitations.  

The participants are accredited marine surveyors who will benefit from increasing their knowledge and understanding of Autonomous Marine Systems (marine drones), allowing them to effectively undertake survey activities relating to autonomous and unmanned vessel technology.  

A marine surveyor is a professional who conducts inspections, surveys or examinations of marine vessels to assess, monitor and report on their condition. 

By upskilling accredited marine surveyors, the pilot will address a gap in the current assurance and accreditation framework for autonomous marine systems.  

The world-first course aligns with Queensland’s vision of becoming a global leader in drones, including developing cutting-edge drone technologies. 

Hosting the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TAS DCRC) in Queensland is a big part of that new economy vision – with TAS DCRC playing a fundamental role building the necessary critical mass in key technologies, such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, that form the backbone of this emerging industrial sector. 

Queensland has some good strides in air drone tech, thanks in large part to the state’s partnership with Boeing Australia. But there also opportunities with marine drones. 

The pilot course will make it more efficient and effective for Queensland businesses to build, test and certify their autonomous marine systems – putting the state in a strong position to grab a slice of increasing global market demand for these vehicles and their technologies. 

The global market for drone technology – air, land and marine – is expected to grow from US$30 billion globally last year to almost US$55 billion by 2025.  

There is the added bonus of having a professionally-operated and evaluation site for marine drones at the AIMS ReefWorks on the Great Barrier Reef off Townsville, which in itself could attract more business. 

Couple that with the expertise of TAS DCRC and the AI Hub – and that puts Queensland in the spotlight as a major player in marine drone tech. 

Both the AI Hub, based at innovation centre The Precinct in Brisbane, and TAS DCRC are supported through the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative. 

Run by the Australian Institute of Marine Science on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, ReefWorks is designed to safely test marine technologies, unmanned systems and new sensors in a tropical marine environment. 

Besides laboratories and wharf facilities, ReefWorks also includes three sea test ranges. 

Last updated 26 Mar, 2021
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