Queensland has furthered its push to be Australia’s technological hub with the announcement that CSIRO’s Data61 division will open a new facility in Brisbane to conduct world-leading research into robotics and autonomous systems.
A new purpose-built Robotics Innovation Centre to be located at Pullenvale will be an important step towards establishing a formal robotics cluster in Brisbane to take advantage of the enormous potential of a rapidly growing industry anticipated to be worth $23 billion globally by 2025.
Data61 chief executive Adrian Turner described the new centre as a national asset, with the potential to provide a unique collaborative opportunity between industry, government and academia.
“Robotics and autonomous systems technologies, underpinned by machine learning and artificial intelligence, will unlock new value in all manner of sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and mining,” Turner said.
“World-class facilities like the Robotics Innovation Centre, will ensure Australia is well placed to benefit from Industry 4.0 and help to protect and accelerate our nation’s ongoing economic success.”
The new 600sq m facility will be used to further pursue research that is already under way with autonomous robotics systems to interact safely and seamlessly with humans in various situations.
Researchers will strive to develop new approaches to rapidly map, navigate and search underground environments using legged robots and autonomous drone technology, funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The facility will also feature the largest motion capture system in the southern hemisphere, to be used to validate data captured by robotics systems in the field.
Additionally, there will be a swimming pool for testing aquatic robots, numerous unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, legged robots, high-accuracy robot manipulators, as well as sensors and telemetry systems.
Data61 already has robotics engineers based in Brisbane working closely with experts at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, which is based at the Queensland University of Technology.
The division is currently partnered to organisations including Boeing, Woodside, QUT and the University of Queensland within the robotics space.
The robotics industry has drawn increasing interest from professionals in the built environment with researchers estimating that artificial intelligence in construction will balloon from $500 million in 2018 to $2.41 billion by 2023.
Late last year, the Queensland government unveiled plans to build an artificial intelligence hub in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
The new training hub, dubbed The Precinct, will aim to help fill the skills gap created by the surging artificial intelligence sector.
The Queensland government also made a $50 million investment to ensure the Australia Defence Force would establish an autonomy research centre, the first of its kind in the country, in Brisbane.
Brisbane also played host to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May of last year, further cementing its place at the forefront of Australian robotics and artificial intelligence research.