Startups may be small companies but they can play a significant role in economic growth as well as contributing to economic dynamism by spurring innovation and injecting competition.  The Federal Government’s, Australia 2030 – Prosperity through Innovation report, released in 2017, identified the need for increased levels of knowledge translation and commercialisation arising from research activity as a key strategic priority.

The report noted that Australia currently lags behind the UK, US and Canada when it comes to start-up formation as a result of research and development.  It went on to identify the need to create more entrepreneurial cultures among research staff across the research sector, noting that “commercialisation activities do not occur in a vacuum – they are a product of, and influenced by, their local context.

Proudly the Centre can boast four start-ups established by Centre researchers that are putting Australian robotics on the map.

Cirrus Robotics

Cirrus Robotics is a Brisbane based robotics/automation company that specialises in areas including mechanical/electrical systems design, autonomous software systems, and computer vision. Cirrus provides consultancy and contracting work tailored to the needs of our clients. The Centre’s Research Engineer Steve Martin and Software Engineer Gavin Suddrey head the start-up.


Dorabot, founded in 2014, develops automated warehouse solutions using cutting-edge AI and robotics, including computer vision, motion planning, mobility and deep learning.  Centre PhD Researcher Adam Tow joined the group back in 2017 and then returned to Brisbane in 2018 where he set up the company’s Australian operations.  Adam has since been joined at Dorabot by two more Centre Alumni, Peter Kujala and James Sergeant.


A Brisbane-based venture LYRO is commercialing its world-leading robotic picking and packing technology for deployment in Australia’s warehouses, supply chains, and logistics operations. The company commenced after securing international investment partner, Japan’s Tokyo Kanetsu.  Dr Jurgen ‘Juxi’ Leitner, Centre Research Fellow, Dr Nicole Robinson and former Research Student, Mr Norton Kelly-Boxall lead the business.  LYRO Robotics was born after Dr Leitner led “Team ACRV” to victory at the 2017 Amazon Robotics Challenge in Japan with the only custom-built robot in the global competition.

Math Thrills

Developed by the Centre’s Michael Milford, the Math Thrills program uses the books, movies and games students love to consume to excite them about mathematical learning. The resources and program are offered free to schools around Australia. Centre Chief Investigator Tom Drummond from our Monash node teamed up with two former students to create The start-up provides consulting services that help businesses learn how to deal with issues like handling big data for their customers, logistics and processes, and dealing with a lot of visual inspections. These are expensive problems for companies to solve and helps develop and integrate supporting technologies into business processes.

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Ben T
Ben T
August 27, 2020 9:20 am

Startups are something that appeal to a lot of people in our area, but can often seem daunting and intimidating to “make the leap”.

It’s great to recognise the Centre members who have taken the initiative to make that leap, and see a summary in a page of all the cool things they’ve accomplished. I find their stories really interesting. Hopefully there are many more stories like this that come from Centre researches in the future, and we see more successes from these existing startups.