Fugro opens new remote operations centre for Space and resources

AROSE founding member Fugro, the world’s leading Geo-data specialist, today opened Australia’s first multi-user remote operations centre for Space automation, artificial intelligence and robotics.

Located in the heart of Perth’s central business district, the Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC) will test, train and control remote and autonomous operations for Space and other harsh environments on Earth.

SpAARC Director Sam Forbes said SpAARC provides a base-level operational capability to underpin future Australian and international Space missions.

“SpAARC is foundational infrastructure for the next phase of Australia’s Space capability development,” Mr Forbes said. “It builds on and extends Fugro’s already impressive remote operations capability and will help to further diversify the Australian economy.”

Fugro plays a key role supporting the AROSE mission – to grow Australia’s remote operations capability in Space and on Earth.

AROSE CEO Leanne Cunnold said SpAARC is critically important to Australia’s growing reputation as the pre-eminent centre for global remote and autonomous operations technology development.

“SpAARC is destined to become a world-recognised facility for innovation and collaboration,” Ms Cunnold said.

“SpAARC will encourage more research and development of remote asset management capability and create more diverse high-tech jobs in robotics and automation across all industries including resources, Space, defence, agriculture and health.”

Fugro Space Systems Director and former NASA engineer Dawn MacIntosh said Fugro is building a scalable operational model, bringing efficiencies to complex Space missions across the globe.

“NASA understands well Australia’s global leadership in remote operations capability,” Ms MacIntosh said. “SpAARC offers an exciting new pathway for Australian and international companies to test new technologies and systems, as well as train staff in preparation for off-Earth missions.”

The new facility is also Fugro’s Remote Operations Centre for the resources industry. Fugro operates the world’s largest fleet of semi-autonomous uncrewed vessels for subsea inspection, offshore construction support, and hydrographic and geophysical surveys.

Engineering services and technology solutions company Nova Systems CEO Jim McDowell said SpAARC represents a very important step forward in the growth of Australia’s sovereign capability.

“SpAARC enhances Australia’s remote operations, automation and robotic capabilities,” Mr McDowell said. “It provides critical infrastructure for training, and operational test and evaluation.”

SpAARC is a key deliverable of the Australian Space Agency’s Robotics and Automation on Earth and in Space Roadmap to 2030. The Australian Government committed $4.5 million to SpAARC as part of its mission to triple the size of the local Space sector to $12 billion and create 20,000 new jobs by the end of the decade. The facility also received $3.5 million in funding from the Western Australian Government.

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