Deal for photonic sensors

Deal for photonic sensors

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Advanced Navigation in Australia has bought a spin-out from the Australian National University (ANU) developing patented photonic sensors for precision navigation.

Vai Photonics will join Advanced Navigation to commercialise their research into autonomous and robotic applications across land, air, sea and space. Advanced Navigation has already collaborated with RMIT and ANU to create the first fully digital fibre optic gyroscope (DFOG).

“The technology Vai Photonics is developing will be of huge importance to the emerging autonomy revolution. The synergies, shared vision and collaborative potential we see between Vai Photonics and Advanced Navigation will enable us to be at the absolute forefront of robotic and autonomy driven technologies,” said Xavier Orr, CEO and co-founder of Advanced Navigation. 

“Photonic technology will be critical to the overall success, safety and reliability of these new systems. We look forward to sharing the next generation of autonomous navigation and robotic solutions with the global community.”

“Precision navigation when GPS is unavailable or unreliable is a major challenge in the development of autonomous systems. Our emerging photonic sensing technology will enable positioning and navigation that is orders of magnitude more stable and precise than existing solutions in these environments,” said James Spollard, CTO and co-founder of Vai Photonics.

“By combining laser interferometry and electro-optics with advanced signal processing algorithms and real-time software, we can measure how fast a vehicle is moving in three dimensions. As a result, we can accurately measure how the vehicle is moving through the environment, and from this infer where the vehicle is located with great precision.”

For example, Vai Photonics sensors will provide safe and reliable autonomous takeoff and landings for air taxis under all conditions. 

“The work that underpins Vai Photonics’ advanced autonomous navigation systems stems from the search for elusive gravitational waves – ripples in space and time caused by massive cosmic events like black holes colliding,” said Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University.

“The team have built on a decade of research and development across advanced and ultra-precise laser measurements, digital signals and quantum optics to build their innovative navigation technology. We are proud to have backed Vai Photonics through our Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics and business and commercialisation office. It’s really exciting to see the team take another major step in their incredible journey.”

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