News Release 

A Franco-Australian laboratory working towards better collaboration between humans and AI

CNRS

Science Business Announcement

  • A new laboratory has been created by the CNRS in Australia, in cooperation with three major Australian universities, IMT Atlantique and Naval Group, the European leader in naval defence.

  • Its main objective: to develop new ways for humans to work with robots and autonomous systems.

  • This collaboration between complementary partners will solve scientific problems, specifically those encountered by Naval Group.

The new international laboratory Crossing1 (CNRS/IMT Atlantique/The University of Adelaide/University of South Australia/Flinders University/Naval Group) will provide solutions for efficient and ethical collaboration between humans, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems. Established in Australia and launched on 22 February 2021, it will strengthen already rich scientific collaborations between France and Australia.

This laboratory project, located in Adelaide, Australia, is based on the premise that multidisciplinary collaborations are needed to address research jointly involving humans, AI and autonomous systems. Specialists in AI, artificial vision, virtual and augmented reality and signal and image processing will pool their expertise alongside experts in human-machine interactions, cognitive and physiological psychology, neuroscience, embedded and autonomous systems and design within the new Crossing laboratory, which will be launched on 22 February 2021.

The launch ceremony will be opened by the Premier of South Australia, the Honourable Steven Marshall, in the presence of Jean-Pierre Thebault, Ambassador of France to Australia and Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Chairman and CEO of Naval Group. Gillian Bird, Australia's ambassador to France Antoine Petit, CNRS Chairman and CEO, and Anne Beauval, IMT Atlantique Vice-President will join them by videoconference from Paris. Peter Høj, David G. Lloyd and Colin Stirling, Vice-Chancellors from the Universities of Adelaide, South Australia and Flinders, will participate in a roundtable with the CEOs of Naval Group, the CNRS and IMT Atlantique.

Crossing will develop four research pillars, which will support industries such as health, defence and "Industry 4.0":

    - To improve models and our understanding of humans as individuals and groups;

    - To improve the efficiency and implementation of learning algorithms within the environment and the group;

    - To explore new interaction paradigms and improve understanding of how autonomous systems behave and make decisions;

    - To propose ways of managing tasks and teams for hybrid teams.

Each partner will provide complementary expertise. The University of Adelaide, recognized worldwide in the field of AI, will provide Crossing scientists with access to the exceptional calculation resources at the Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML). The university will also provide robotic platforms, testing spaces and advanced physiological measurement equipment. For its part, Flinders University, recognized for its expertise in the field of autonomous marine vehicles, will provide Crossing with the state-of-the-art equipment at the Centre for Maritime Engineering, Control, and Imaging (CMECI). The University of South Australia will offer the unique resources of its internationally recognized centre for sleep and fatigue studies (Sleep, Chronobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience Research Labs). It will also provide priority access to a first-class laboratory dedicated to augmented reality and to its design resources, which scientists will use to make prototypes for testing human-machine interfaces. Finally, Naval Group will provide an industrial vision for the development of leading-edge fundamental research. The group will put to use its expertise in the fields of intelligence and embedded architectures, unmanned vehicles, industry of the future and human performance measurement in this laboratory.

Crossing will be an unparalleled workplace for scientists at CNRS, IMT Atlantique, Naval Group and their academic partners, who wish to make short- or long-term research stays in Adelaide.

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