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Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap launched

Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap launched article image

Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap was unveiled today at Parliament House, Canberra.

The roadmap will guide and support the development of critical robotic and vision technologies required to support Australian industry in the future.

Leaders in academia, industry and government across key sectors including resources, built and natural environment, manufacturing, services, agriculture, defence and healthcare have all helped shape the Roadmap through submissions and workshops held late last year.

The world-leading Australian Centre for Robotic Vision pioneered the concept, collated submissions and co-ordinated the vital national roadshow across five Australian capital cities before producing the report.

At the launch, the Centre’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr Sue Keay said: “Australia’s Robotics Roadmap is a critical step towards a national strategy to invest in robotic technology to create and support a vibrant economy, community and nation.”

The roadmap aims to create the grounds for the necessary co-operation to allow robots to help unlock human potential, modernise the economy and build national health, well-being and sustainability.

Future productivity will come from automation

Dr Keay said Australia’s continued high standard of living depends on us improving productivity 2.5% every year.

“With our ageing population this won’t come from labour productivity alone but will rely on automation,” she said. “Automation is predicted to deliver Australia a $2.2 trillion dividend over the next 15 years if we encourage businesses to accelerate their uptake of new technologies such as robotics. 

“With support and collaboration between industries, government, researchers and developers in coming years we will see robotic technology developed that can help maintain our living standards, protect the environment, provide services to remote communities, reduce healthcare costs and create more efficient and safer workplaces.”
Australia is currently ranked 18th in the world for global automation by the International Federation of Robotics.

Everyday problem solvers 

“It’s time we start understanding robots as everyday problem solvers rather than scientific fantasy,” Dr Keay said. “As a community we need to understand and harness the potential of robotics technology to improve our lives.

“Australia has a talented pool of robotics leaders and researchers who are working on some incredibly exciting projects. 

“We have an opportunity to take a collaborative, multi-sector approach to education, funding and legislation to benefit industries and lead the way in the development of robotic technology that can solve real global challenges.”

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO emphasised the importance of the roadmap in unlocking Australia’s robotics potential for industry.

Realm of science fiction

“When I was a child, robots were the realm of science fiction alone,” he said. “Even through the decades that followed, simple automation and machines failed to fill the grand promises made by my favourite books.

“But in the last few years, that’s all changed – robots and artificial intelligence are appearing in every industry sector, with huge practical impact on the way we live, work, and plan for the future. This roadmap shows just how quickly this field is moving, and the rewards available to a robot-ready Australia.”

Those involved in the making of the Roadmap include:

Chair:

Dr Sue Keay (Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, QUT)
 
Roadmap Co-Chairs:

Nathan Kirchner (Laing O’Rourke)

Phil Crothers (Boeing)

Martin Szarski (Boeing)

Sarath Kodagoda (UTS)

Jason Scholz (DST Group)

Matt Dunbabin (QUT)

Saeid Nahavandi (Deakin)

Paul Lucey (Project 412)

Thierry Peynot (QUT)

Ian Reid (University of Adelaide)

Ric Gros (METS Ignited)

Frank Schrever (Machine Safety by Design)

Greg Garrihy (ICAA)

Michael Lucas (Engineers Australia)

Elliot Duff (Data 61/CSIRO)

Alberto Elfes (CSIRO Data61)

Tirtha Bandy (CSIRO Data61)

Rob Mahony (ANU)

Stefan Williams (USyd)

Jonathan Roberts (QUT)

Denny Oetomo (UMelb)

Karol Miller (UWA)

Surya Singh (UQ)

Paul Lever (Mining3)

Mary-Anne Williams (UTS)
 
Project Team:
Tabetha Bozin (QUT) and Sandra Holmes (QUT)
 
Roadmap Editorial Board:
Peter Corke (QUT)

Elizabeth Croft (Monash)

Marek Kowalkiewicz (QUT)

Roadmap Advisors:
David Fagan (QUT)

Ron Arkin (Georgia Tech)

Md Shahiduzzaman (QUT)

Matthew Rimmer (QUT)
 
Policy Advisors:
Robert O’Connor (EPPE Consulting)

Dion Pretorius (Science and Technology Australia)
 
Engagement Advisors:
Juan Suarez Manuel (UQ)

Matt Myers (UQ)

Matt Cowman (UQ) as part of a UQ Business School MBA Consulting Practicum

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