AIM Defence’s ‘hybrid-twin’ virtual test environment selected by NGTF to speed up capability development of Trusted Autonomous Systems

Australia’s leading high-power laser systems developer, AIM Defence (AIM) is branching into virtual testing environments with the development of a novel hybrid-twin augmented test arena, in partnership with the Defence Science & Technology Group (DSTG).

Following a competitive tender process, AIM has been selected among 22 Australian small and medium businesses in 2021 to partner with Defence under an Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (ICERA) funded through the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF).

The ICERA funding will support a 16-month collaborative project between AIM and DSTG to progress AIM’s cutting-edge test arena which will improve the tracking accuracy and beam precision of the company’s drone destroying lasers.

“The funding provided under the ICERA program to extend AIM’s in-house technology is a validation of the work the team has been doing to build better testing environments for safer, faster iteration of both software and hardware in the defence sector” Ms. Jessica Glenn, Co-founder of AIM Defence said.

AIM’s novel hybrid-twin capability allows testing of automatous platforms for a fraction of the cost of large-scale outdoor trials, whilst still enabling similar levels of technology risk reduction. This is achieved by harnessing a combination of physical, real-world testing and digital augmentation within virtual test environments.

The hybrid-twin test arena AIM is developing has already been used to speed up concept testing and iteration cycles of its high-precision laser tracking system and is currently being retrofitted to enable the same concepts to be applied to autonomous drone platforms.

“We’re excited to leverage this state-of-the-art digital environment in a new way for Defence and help close the loop in testing what are increasingly complex autonomous platforms” Dr. Jae Daniel, Co-founder of AIM Defence said.

This new partnership is among several joint research projects that AIM and DSTG have worked on together, reinforcing the benefits of collaboration between Australia’s deep tech start-ups and Defence. The ICERA funding is designed to support innovative proposals from agile SMEs that can develop or validate their technology aligned with the NGTF’s nine priority technology areas.