A new International Research Laboratory (IRL) will bring together Australian and French scientists to explore humans-autonomous agents teaming: an area of research at the interface of artificial intelligence, computer science, engineering, technology, human factors and psychology.

The French Australian Laboratory for Humans-Autonomous Agents Teaming, shortened to CROSSING, is a collaboration between the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the University of South Australia, University of Adelaide, Flinders University, French technological university IMT Atlantique, and Naval Group, the only industrial partner.

An IRL is a flagship international collaboration mechanism used by CNRS, France’s leading scientific research centre. The new IRL is called CROSSING because it represents the crossover of ideas that is at the heart of this important collaboration.

Professor Jean-Philippe Diguet, Director of the lab, said, “The CROSSING Lab will bring together leading French and Australian scientists from artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer science, engineering, psychology and human factors.

“They will work together to tackle important challenges in finding new ways for systems and humans to work together.

“The outcomes could provide significant advances in the way operators use control systems on ships, maintenance platforms in industry or services to assist within the home, and the way these systems are developed to assist and improve human performance to make work safer and more efficient.”

The CROSSING Lab will join a network of more than 70 IRLs, but will become one of only five international research laboratories with industry partners in the world. It will join the ranks of other labs in global innovation hubs, including Singapore, China, Japan and the United States of America. 

Based in Adelaide, the CROSSING Lab will be a unique multidisciplinary facility in Australia that provides an opportunity for South Australia to be at the forefront of research into frontier technologies highly relevant to future industries.

Professor Anna Ma-Wyatt, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology, who is Co-Director of the new lab, said. “At the CROSSING lab we will develop new ways for humans to work with robots and autonomous systems. 

“Human operators will cooperate with high-level automata, robots or adaptive information systems able to produce knowledge and to explore the physical or informational environment on their own.”

Each partner brings complementary expertise to the research partnership:

  • The University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML) brings expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning in the field of interactive and virtual environments and human performance
  • The University of South Australia has expertise in sleep and fatigue analysis
  • IMT Atlantique has expertise and facilities in virtual and augmented reality and embedded and human-centric AI
  • Flinders University has expertise in autonomous systems, human factors and industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing
  • The Naval Group will share its world-class expertise from areas including embedded intelligence, optimised architectures, unmanned vehicles, industry of the future and human performance measurement

The new lab was launched on Monday 22 February by the Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, and attended by the French Ambassador to Australia, Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault.

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