Fly me to the moon: CSIRO teams up with Boeing in major tech deal

CSIRO and Boeing have struck a five-year technology research deal, based around simulated space flight, with much of the work to take place in Brisbane, the aeronautical company’s Australian base.

Dec 16, 2021, updated Dec 16, 2021
The CSIRO Pullenvale base where scientists are testing lunar rovers.

The CSIRO Pullenvale base where scientists are testing lunar rovers.

The deal would mean the organisations would ramp up projects focused on using artificial intelligence, machine learning and creating digital twins to improve efficiency and lower costs.

The CSIRO said improving sustainability and using digital technologies to boost productivity were among the focus areas of the research program.

It follows the opening of a new CSIRO facility at Pullenvale which will enable researchers to simulate being on the moon to test the next generation of space-exploration equipment.

The new agreement will mean an investment of $41 million across areas of mutual interest, adding to about $200 million previously spent on joint research programs by the two organisations.

CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said the Boeing relationship represented a success story of science partnering with industry to create impact.

“CSIRO has existed for more than 100 years to help industry solve its greatest challenges and create a prosperous society,” Marshall said.

“The next five years will see our science really move the needle on innovation to create sustainable solutions that deliver the great challenge of lowering emissions while expanding our economy at the same time – but that’s what science does.”

The chief engineer of The Boeing Company and executive vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test and Technology Greg Hyslop said the agreement with CSIRO would lead to a more sustainable aviation industry, building upon our decades-long partnership that has already produced so many significant advancements for Boeing and our customers.”

The strong relationship with CSIRO was a key factor in Boeing choosing Australia as the location for its largest research and development operation outside the United States.

CSIRO’s chief technical advisor to Boeing Shravan Singh said there is also huge potential to use CSIRO’s deep expertise in sustainability to reduce environmental impacts right across the value chain from aeroplane manufacturing, right through to optimising times around flight operations.

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