The QUT headquartered Australian Centre for Robotic Vision has delivered the country’s first Robotics Roadmap to guide and grow robotics and automation in Australia, with new research revealing the industry is now worth more than $12 billion to the nation annually.
Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, QUT’s Dr Sue Keay, said ‘A Robotics Roadmap for Australia’ was pioneered and produced by the Centre, with contributions from leaders across academia, government and industry, at a critical time in the industry’s development.
“Robotic technologies are at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution and, with the launch of the Roadmap today, it marks an important step forward for not only the robotics industry, but also for our country, as we seek to harness the benefits of a new robot economy,” Dr Keay said.
“A Robotics Roadmap for Australia sets out where we are now, where we want to be, and importantly, the options for getting us there.
“Australia has an impressive robotics history – we were the first country in the world to automate our ports, our mine sites have deployed self-driving haulage vehicles, and we are using robots to protect the reef.
“But to continue to develop, and to secure our future, the industry requires a collaborative, multi-sector approach. We firmly believe this Roadmap provides the foundation to achieve that.
“Through a series of workshops and submissions, we have heard directly from decision-makers in sectors including resources, manufacturing, agriculture, defence, healthcare, services, and the built and natural environment.
“That has allowed us to learn more about how robotics industry is growing in sectors of national significance, as well as identifying the future needs and possibilities for the technology,” she said.
Whilst there have been concerns that increased automation would take away jobs, Dr Keay said the Roadmap showed that did not have to be the case.
“Our continued standard of living depends on us improving productivity by 2.5 percent each year and to achieve that, we must look towards automation,” she said.
“By building a stronger robotics industry in Australia, we can prepare the next generation for the jobs of the future, upskill our current workforce and re-shore jobs back to Australia.
“We envisage a future for Australia where robots do dirty, dull and dangerous tasks, allowing workers to enjoy more satisfying, safe and creative employment.”
Dr Keay said there was an opportunity for Australia to become a testbed for robotics technology by leading the world in ethical, legal and standards frameworks.
“We urge the government to lead the region in catalysing robotics activity by establishing these frameworks and adopting robotics in government services,” she said.
“But that is not all we must do. We must also support an entrepreneurial culture and harness the nation’s imagination to solve challenges in our own backyard – and we must encourage venture capital investment in our technology and develop pathways to commercialisation.
“By taking this action now, we can ensure Australia is in a position to prosper.”
The Roadmap is available for download at roboticsroadmapau.org
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