Security company Stealth Technologies, a subsidiary of Strategic Elements (ASX: SOR), has unveiled a new licencing agreement with Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, to harness its robotics technology by integrating it into autonomous security vehicle over the coming years.
Pooled development fund and “venture builder” Strategic announced that its subsidiary would work under an early adopter program to advance the CSIRO’s Wildcat SLAM technology, which enables robots to work together in teams.
Stealth will focus on integrating Wildcat SLAM into its autonomous security vehicle technology to develop products for the global security market.
“The Wildcat SLAM technology can potentially provide game-changing features to our autonomous robotics platform. This could be where for example large scale facilities require multiple ground-based security vehicles, facilities where ground plus airborne based autonomous security provides enhanced benefits, facilities that have poor coverage of satellite signal for GPS or in new defence applications,” Strategic managing director Charles Murphy said.
“Wildcat SLAM 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,” he added.
Wildcat SLAM is underpinned by more than 10 years of research and development done by CSIRO within its Data61 unit, its so-called digital specialist arm.
Under the 12-month early adopter program, commercial gains received by Stealth from the utilisation of the Wildcat technology will trigger an undisclosed a fee to CSIRO.
Both parties intend for the program to be curtailed after 12 months at which point both may choose to transition to a full commercial licence.
The licence deal terms that the CSIRO will be tasked with providing basic integration support, training and ongoing support for data processing and de-bugging.
Why the CSIRO and why now
CSIRO’s Data61 technology is expected to provide Stealth with a “key technological advantage” in enabling its autonomous security vehicles to work in teams and provide enhanced security and surveillance solutions to its customers.
Wildcat SLAM enables autonomous robots to simultaneously navigate and build high-definition maps, as well as gathering other sensor data in locations they are being exposed to for the first time.
The technology is robust enough for robots to be able to negotiate previously unnavigated terrain while sharing and cross-referencing information in real-time with other robots without human intervention – all to build a collective understanding of their macro environment.
At the most recent DARPA robotics competition, the technology won the most accurate object detection prize for underground exploration and mapping by robot teams.
This technology competed against the best field robotics groups in the world in GPS-denied environments.
The underlying idea behind Wildcat SLAM is that as one robot encounters an obstacle or new context and learns on the fly, an entire team of robots can instantly tap into the hive-mind mechanism to learn even faster.
Coming via Stealth
Strategic’s subsidiary is developing a rather modern – and an example of tomorrow’s world coming true today – autonomous security vehicle for perimeter security in transport, energy, defence, government and utilities sectors.
Autonomous vehicles carry the potential to allow manpower-heavy industries to reduce their cost bases and the risk to human life while improving performance.
One of the first sectors to embrace autonomous security vehicles to their full extent has been the military and the broader security industry.
According to market research, the global perimeter security market will top US$282 billion (A$393 billion) within the next five years.
Stealth is currently collaborating with US-listed powerhouse Honeywell to build autonomous security vehicles for Western Australia’s correctional justice sector.
According to Strategic Elements, the two parties are currently working with the state’s Department of Justice to deploy a fully autonomous and robotic security vehicle for the Eastern Goldfields regional prison in Kalgoorlie to secure the integrity of the facility’s perimeter.
Furthermore, earlier this month Stealth formed a collaboration with US-based company Planck AeroSystems to enable drones to launch and land from its ground-based autonomous security vehicles.