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The robots are coming

Launched on Monday 18 June at Parliament House, Australia’s very first Robotics Roadmap promises to deliver for Australia’s transport and logistics industry.
Leaders in academia, industry and government across the transport and distribution industry 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,” said the centre’s chief operating officer Dr Sue Keay.
“The Robotics Roadmap is a first step towards a national strategy to invest in robotic technology to create and support a vibrant economy, community and nation. It’s an excellent step for the transport and logistics sector with a number of new robotic technologies currently being developed to help optimise the success of delivery in Australia.
“The Australian e-commerce market is worth a staggering $10 billion and this places growing demand on the transport and logistics sector. Retail and logistics are becoming more complex and Australia’s vast distance between cities and remote communities only adds to the demand on distribution companies.
“Transport services have a strong influence on other parts of the Australian economy and it’s important we invest in new technology to help support growth and optimise success. With the development of self-driving cars and the deployment of robots that can see and understand their environment it’s an exciting time for the distribution industry,” she said.
“From lowering transportation costs, assisting with labour shortages, increasing efficiency of delivery and even helping create safer workplaces there are a range of benefits that stem from investing in robotic technology and we look forward to guiding and supporting the development and implantation of this technology in Australia’s transport and logistics sector.
“With Australia currently ranked as 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. We as a nation need to stop lagging behind the rest of the world and start understanding and appreciating the potential Australian robots can unleash.
“This is not just about making industries more automated; it’s about making sure our future robotic technologies drive the transformation of existing industries and create safer and more productive workplaces for Australian workers and businesses,” Dr Keay said.
Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO emphasised the importance of the roadmap in unlocking Australia’s robotics potential.
“When I was a child, robots were the realm of science fiction alone. 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.”
Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap was pioneered by The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. Those involved in making the roadmap happen include:
Sue Keay, Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, QUT (Chairwoman)
Roadmap Co-Chairpersons:
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) and 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) and 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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