RMIT takes out top honours in national defence awards

RMIT takes out top honours in national defence awards

RMIT researchers have been recognised for their work in defence research, with one taking home the top prize of Scientist of the Year.

Professor Roberto Sabatini has been named Scientist of the Year at the Defence Industry Awards 2019, held in Canberra at the end of September.

The award recognises a scientist who has delivered outstanding work for their organisation while supporting the strengthening of Australia’s defence and national security capabilities through their participation in the defence industry.

Sabatini was commended for his leadership in research translation and for many years of hard work, passion and commitment to establish and grow the RMIT Cyber-Physical Systems Group.

The group delivers tangible research outcomes to high-calibre industry partners such as Thales and Northrop Grumman.

Recent advances have included cognitive processing and machine learning techniques for the safe and efficient operation of multiple autonomous vehicles.

Sabatini said that receiving the award would not have been possible without the collective efforts and dedication of the group, and added that with artificial intelligence and automation already changing our lives, cyber-physical systems research is having a major impact on the aerospace and defence industries.

“Cyber-physical systems research is at the core of the digital transformation that is impacting many industry sectors, including defence,” he said.

“One of the most exciting opportunities offered by this research is the development of new cognitive processing and machine learning techniques for integration into a new generation of trusted autonomous systems for air, space, land and maritime operations.”

L-R: Professor Pier Marzocca, Professor Roberto Sabatini and Dr. Abdulghani Mohamed

Aerospace Engineering lecturer Dr Abdulghani Mohamed was also nominated in various research and innovation award categories.

He was recognised for his strong research profile and his high impact research program which focuses on studying and reducing the effects of turbulence and gusts on aircraft.

He said he was grateful to be recognised for his work in this crucial area.

“Drones flying at low altitude face more challenging turbulence compared to large passenger carrying aircraft flying thousands of feet above us,” Mohamed said.

“Through cutting-edge measurement techniques and high-fidelity simulations of turbulence we can get insight into its de-stabilising effects on aircraft, and develop novel ways to counter it.”

With urban air taxis soon be taking to the skies in our cities, following Uber Elevate’s recent announcements, his work is more relevant than ever.

“That’s why it’s important for us to explore the impact of worst case gusts around large buildings in our cities, examining a range of wind conditions to identify safe flight path.”

Mohamed’s work has already resulted in a number of high-impact outcomes, including developing the world’s first gust energy harvesting unmanned aerial vehicles, in collaboration with higher education and research institute ISAE-SUPAERO.

This work was a key part of his Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Team, a multi-disciplinary team recognised internationally for research excellence. 

Story: Jasmijn van Houten

15 October 2019

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15 October 2019

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