Aussies take on allies with robot lasars

Summary:Just over a week after Defence officials mulled cyber defence plans, the victor of a transnational robot war will be announced in Adelaide.

Just over a week after Defence officials mulled cyber defence plans, the victor of a transnational robot war will be announced in Adelaide.

Robots

(Credit: MAGICIAN and the DSTO)

The war is the culmination of a half-year competition between academics specialising in robotics, where machines capable of detecting and defusing munitions are put to the test.

Australia's robot from a Western Australian team led by Flinders University computer science professor David Power, and dubbed MAGICIAN, has already strutted its stuff in front of judges. It faces competition from Turkey and Japan, and three teams from the United States. The last of the teams are showing their wares this week, with the winner to be decided on Wednesday.

In the challenge, the robots have to map, seek and "destroy" objects of interest and are tested in terms of their ability to coordinate tasks from a single operator to multiple machines.

The teams competing in the finals were chosen in knock-out rounds earlier in the year.

The Aussie robot was hotted-up with extra lasar (laser-radar) guidance systems funded by a $50,000 grant, since the last knock-out round of the competition in the US, and Power is quietly confident.

"It uses three lasar systems that detect horizontal objects like a typical radar, and other which sweep vertical to detect objects such as doorways.

"There are more lasars on there now so it is more precise in three-dimensional tracking."

The Multi-Autonomous Ground-robotics International Challenge (MAGIC) is a joint initiative by Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the US Department of Defense.

(Front page image credit: Spec Ad movie poster image by August Klem, CC2.0)

Topics: Security, Emerging Tech

About

Darren Pauli has been writing about technology for almost five years, he covers a gamut of news with a special focus on security, keeping readers informed about the world of cyber criminals and the safety measures needed to thwart them.

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