Launched today at Parliament House, Australia’s very first Robotics Roadmap is set to strengthen national defence through guiding and supporting the development of critical robotic technology to assist Australia’s defence forces.
FILE PHOTO: An MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft in flight. Australia is acquiring a fleet of the autonomous aircraft for coastal surveillance. US Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt.
Leaders in academia, industry and government across the defence sector all helped shape the roadmap through submissions and workshops held in late 2017.
The world-leading Australian Centre for Robotic Vision pioneered the Robotics Roadmap concept, collated submissions and co-ordinated the vital national roadshow across five Australian capital cities ahead of producing the report.
“We are thrilled to officially present Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap today in Canberra,” the Centre’s Chief Operating Officer Sue Keay said.
“The Robotics Roadmap is a critical tool in strategically planning how we as a nation best invest in robotic technology to create and support a vibrant economy, community and nation.
“Australia’s defence sector is world class. With the growth of the national Defence budget to two percent of Australia’s GDP by 2020-21, we are seeing more investment in the development of defence technology and there are significant opportunities in robotic technology.”
Dr Keay said Australia’s Robotics Roadmap highlights how robotic technology can strengthen intelligence and reconnaissance, and enhance targeting capacity through greater access to strengthened analytical capability, enhanced support and space-based capabilities.
“Investment in new technology will enhance Australia’s ability to contribute to border protection with the introduction of more capable offshore patrol vessels, new manned and unmanned aircraft and a new large-hulled multi- purpose patrol vessel.
“These platforms have the potential to become robotic and autonomous, and to be augmented by off-platform robotic systems.
“Robotics can help strengthen and support Australia’s highly valued human workforce in Defence enabling more precise and persistent, wide-area operations in air, land, sea, subsurface, space and cyber domains.
“With Australia currently ranked 18th in the world for global automation by the International Federation of Robotics, it’s time we start understanding robots as everyday problem solvers rather than scientific fantasy.
“As a community, we need to build on Australia’s strengths in developing new robotic technologies to help the Defence sector become more agile and responsive.”
Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel emphasised the importance of the roadmap to unlocking Australia’s robotic potential.
“When I was a child, robots were the realm of science fiction alone,” Dr Finkel 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 past 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.”
Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap was pioneered by The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision with contributions from defence, industry, academia, research agencies and international partners.
About The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision
The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is an ARC Centre of Excellence, funded for $25.6 million over seven years to form the largest collaborative group of its kind generating internationally impactful science and new technologies that will transform important Australian industries and provide solutions to some of the hard challenges facing Australia and the globe.
Formed in 2014, The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is the world’s first research centre specialising in robotic vision. They are a group of researchers on a mission to develop new robotic vision technologies to expand the capabilities of robots. Their work will give robots the ability to see and understand for the sustainable well-being of people and the environments we live in.
The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision has assembled an interdisciplinary research team from four leading Australian research universities: QUT, The University of Adelaide (UoA), The Australian National University (ANU), and Monash University as well as CSIRO’s Data61and overseas universities and research organisations including INRIA Rennes Bretagne, Georgia Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, University of Toronto, and the University of Oxford.