CSIRO Invests In Space Object Tracking To Fuel AI Growth

Emeric Brard
on 6 January 2019

CSIRO Australia develops the imaging of Earth from satellites and invests in data science to advance the growth of AI technology, report by Emeric Brard.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an independent federal government agency based in Canberra that focuses on scientific research. As part of their Future Science Platforms (FSP) portfolio, they plan to invest $35 million in frontier research and Artificial Intelligence in Australia. The plan is to attract the best students and experts in their field to help form a new generation of researchers.

Its goal? Firstly, to further develop the imaging of Earth from satellites as well as in-depth data science to advance the growth of AI technology. Challenges such as space object tracking, resource utilisation in space, and the development of life support systems for future possible mission to Mars and the Moon come as later objectives.

Dr, Marshall of CSIRO summarises this quite well, “Our Future Science Platforms aim to turn Australia’s challenges into opportunities where new science can break through seemingly impossible roadblocks to give Australia an unfair advantages on the world stage”

The $35M will be allocated accordingly to two different areas within their research program; Space Technology, and AI and Machine Learning.

Space Technology will receive $16m to identify a means of bettering traditional technologies as well as to create new jobs for Australians in that industry.

AI and Machine Learning will receive $19M in order to target issues such as ‘food security and quality, health and wellbeing, sustainable energy and resources, resilient and valuable environments, and Australian and regional security’ according to CSIRO. The aim here is to tackle issues with AI-driven methods.

By 2022, CSIRO expect to have invested around $205 million into the program since its launch in 2016. And on top of that, it ties into CSIRO’s Space Roadmap for Australia, and ultimately supports the Australia Space Agency’s goal of tripling the size of the domestic space sector, thought to have a value of in-between $10-12 billion by 2030.

“CSIRO is here to solve Australia’s greatest challenges through innovative science and technology – and to do that we have to invest in the big thinking and breakthrough research that will keep us ahead of the curve.”

With Australia being the only continent in the world covered by one country, it’s fair to say that its vast land has much to be discovered, and not just on the surface. For years, Australians have been using resources from above that don’t even scratch beyond the surface. The FSP can help in exploiting the minerals, energy and water resources that are found from far greater depths, with the use of Deep Earth Imaging, Digiscape (to enhance farmers’ use of digital methods), Environomics, and more.

It’s now time for Australia to get the upper-hand, and CSIRO’s taking all the necessary steps in achieving that.

For more in-depth information on FSP, check out: https://www.csiro.au/en/About/Future-Science-Platforms

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