AIMS Gets Australia’s First Permit-Free Marine Tech Test Status
For the first time in Australia, autonomous marine technology developers have a location to safely test autonomous vessels without needing to apply for a permit. The Australian Institute of Marine Science’s ReefWorks inshore test range, near Townsville in north Queensland, has been granted regulatory sandbox approval for uncrewed vessels from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). It’s the first approval issued under a proposed Australian Maritime Regulatory Sandbox advocated by Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS), AIMS and AMC Search. The five-year agreement allows for permit-free testing and evaluation of vessels up to 12 m in length, traveling up to 20 kt. within the test range.
ReefWorks Project Director Melanie Olsen said the status removes a time-consuming hurdle and uncertainty for developers and helps clear the path to development for Australia’s fledgling autonomous marine technology sector. It also allows ReefWorks to share the lessons it learns with regulators to help reduce risk and drive legislative changes.
AIMS is working closely with TAS to remove the barriers slowing development of Australia’s autonomous marine technology industry. AIMS is also developing a suite of autonomous marine monitoring technology to provide more comprehensive knowledge, faster, to inform sustainable management of Australia’s changing tropical marine environment.
ReefWorks opened its doors to industry, defense and academic innovators in 2022, with support from the Queensland government, to provide one of the world’s first tropical-water marine technology test ranges.