A robotics roadmap for Australia 2018

18 Jun 2018

Robotics in Australia will maintain our living standards, help protect the environment, provide services to remote communities, reduce healthcare costs, provide safer more fulfilling jobs, prepare the next generation for the future, encourage investment and reshore jobs back to Australia. The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, an ARC Centre of Excellence, has partnered with industry, researchers and government agencies across the country to develop Australia’s first robotics roadmap.

This document is structured to give an overview of robotics in Australia, an overview of the issues that greater take-up creates and then a sectoral breakdown of current activity and future outlook. Each chapter is informed by participation from industry. We highlight some of the bright spots – the applications of robotics across industries, which can be an exemplar for further progress. These case studies are drawn directly from real-life experiences. And we acknowledge two important and successful paths to innovation, the use of clusters and challenges to bring together complementary skills to solve problems and develop new technologies. They’re worth pursuing.

Our national consultation process was modelled on Professor Henrik Christensen’s successful US Robotics Roadmap, now in its 3rd Edition [USR16]. During late 2017 and early 2018 we held a series of workshops, in different capital cities, focussing on areas of economic significance to Australia. Robotic technologies can be deployed across all sectors, and each sector has distinctive requirements that we will explore in this roadmap. We concentrate on sectors where robotics technologies can have the greatest impact either by virtue of the sheer size of the sector, the scale of transformative effect of the technologies, or the opportunity to solve Australia’s unique challenges.

Over the next decade a range of new technologies will see robots that are more tactile, more capable of interacting with their physical environments, more closely working with humans and more self-sufficient. Robots will also take on many different forms, suiting them for new and unexplored functions. This roadmap is a guide to the future of robotic technologies and how we can achieve gains from them across all sectors of the Australian economy. Like any roadmap, it doesn’t mandate direction. But it does show the start point and the possible end points through the range of journeys Australians and our industries can take. And there are many directions and many social and economic issues to consider if we are to advance.

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