Artists and writers have long imagined what science has later created - from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Renaissance ‘flying machine’ to George Orwell’s '1984' Big Brother-like surveillance, and Philip K Dick’s off-world colonies and robot servants in 'Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'
Can robots see the future?
Developing robots that understand what they see is the key to an array of emerging applications in robotics and automation. However vision is a complex process requiring rapid and continuous feedback for control.
Robotics is a transformative technology with potential applications across a range of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture and construction. Automation can transform these industries, but only if it can perform complex interactive tasks in unstructured environments.
We're working toward developing robots that perceive their environment: that sense, understand and learn in order to improve performance over time. Robots with visual perception - that can see and respond as humans do - will have the potential to increase productivity in industries critical to Australia’s economy.
Australian Centre for Robotic Vision
The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is navigating the challenge of applying robotics in the real world.
The centre hosts an interdisciplinary research team, with researchers from QUT working alongside specialists from other world-leading universities and research organisations including:
- The University of Adelaide, the Australian National University, and Monash University
- Data61 (previously known as NICTA)
- international universities and organisations including INRIA Rennes Bretagne, Georgia Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, and the University of Oxford.
Already, the centre has created:
- an underwater robot that culls crown of thorns starfish
- an agricultural robot that can see the difference between weeds and crops and apply the correct herbicide precisely on the weed
- a fruit picking robot that can pick the right fruit, the right way, day and night
- a free global university-level course in robotic vision, with over 30,000 students from 100 countries participating in the course so far.
Robots need to know the reason why they are doing a job if they are to effectively and safely work alongside people in the near future. In simple terms, this means machines need to understand motive the way humans do, and not just perform tasks blindly, without context.