National Benefit meeting Australia’s innovation, science and research priorities

Robots are already in wide use on factory floors in Australia’s food manufacturing industries and in the field as autonomous mining and port container vehicles. However, robots are noticeably absent from a number of other sectors.

So where are they all?

Without vision capabilities, there are a wide array of potential applications that are closed to robots. Complex manual assembly, packing, navigation, machine operation, fruit picking, crop spraying, remote assistance, smart homes and appliances, autonomous driving, together with environmental surveying and monitoring.

At the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, we are developing vision-enabled robotic systems that can understand and respond to their environment, operate reliably over long periods in complex, unstructured surroundings and interact safely and effectively with people as well as objects.

By creating robots that see, we will be able to help solve Australia’s future environmental, economic and social challenges. These challenges include climate change, growing populations with increasingly ageing populations who will need healthcare. Some of the issues identified through the nation’s Science and Research Priorities that our Centre’s research can address include:

  • labour shortages and low productivity growth in key industries
  • rising Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) compliance costs
  • the need for increased productivity due to an ageing population
  • rising healthcare costs and demands for customised healthcare solutions
  • ageing infrastructure
  • growing demands for minerals, energy and food
  • the need to preserve the environment.

Current trends suggest robots will be fundamental to improving productivity in our resources, services and manufacturing sectors, supporting the growth of new industries while fostering an entrepreneurial and innovative knowledge economy that will benefit Australia.

We are specifically addressing these key priorities to create national benefit by:

  • undertaking world-class research, grounded by national challenges with a focus on productivity and competitiveness
  • training a generation of experts in robotics and vision who will work in industry, government and academia
  • translating research results in robotics and vision by transferring trained people into important future industries and new enterprises
  • building businesses’ awareness of the technologies we are creating, through planned communication and a variety of engagement models
  • actively collaborating with others in the national innovation system, including non-partner universities, organisations and industry, through collaborative and contract research
  • fostering strong international engagement with top international researchers in our field, relationships that can in turn be leveraged by Australian industry.