University of Sydney extends research partnership with Thales Australia

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The University of Sydney and Thales Australia have extended their collaboration to carry on with research and development of game-changing technologies in aerospace, space, defence, and digital security sectors.

With an emphasis on digital technologies like big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was established in 2017 to conduct research, develop, and master emerging technologies.

The partnership extension will maintain the strong collaboration, which includes long-standing activities such as:

  • Intelligent Robotic Systems for Real-Time Asset Management Industry Transformation Research Hub of the Australian Research Council;
  • collaboration with the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre on vision-based space object detection and tracking;
  • Research and development work centred on Autonomous Mine Countermeasures with the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TAS-DCRC); and
  • The development of integrated optical components for communication and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) applications.

The university said its relationship with Thales Australia has also achieved excellent results through directly supported PhD programs in Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, and Electrical and Information Engineering. Thales also sponsors eight engineering industry positions and has supported direct research in Low Altitude Air Traffic Management for drone operations.

As the partnership progresses, both organisations seek to embed employees within each other’s organisations in order to accelerate the translation of research and development into community-impacting solutions, with a special emphasis on national security results.

Professor Emma Johnston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), and Thales Australia and New Zealand CEO Jeff Connolly inked the new collaboration extension.

“Our researchers have the ideas and expertise that can help make Australia and the world a better place to live and this partnership accelerates the translation of our ideas into real-world impact. Some of the new projects we are excited about are collaborations with the University of Sydney Business School focused on drone operations and logistics – this is the type of work that can make a difference to daily life,” Professor Johnston said.

According to University of Sydney Dean of Engineering Professor Willy Zwaenepoel, the best ideas originate from teamwork, and working closely with Thales allows the university to ensure that research answers can be transformed into actual achievements.

“We look forward to growing the collaboration over the coming five years including finding new opportunities in our new faculty initiatives – the Digital Sciences Initiative and Net Zero Initiative,” Professor Zwaenepoel said.

Thales Australia and New Zealand Chief Technical Officer Dr John Best stated that “over the previous five years we have not only delivered some tremendous research outcomes, including application in support of key defence capabilities. We have also developed teams who are skilled in identifying the research challenge in practical problems and able to plan and execute a research program to deliver real impact to our customers and end users. We will further build this capability to strengthen our collaborative impact.”


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