Catching the 6th wave to robotics opportunities Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The CSIRO has announced a national robotics research and development strategy will be developed by the Sixth Wave Alliance (SWA) formed by its industry transformation body, Data61.

Data61 is involved in cybersecurity, confidential computing, IoT, robotics, machine learning and analytics, software and programming, while SWA’s aim will be to “create the critical mass required” to address large-scale Australian and international challenges using robotics technologies, the CSIRO said. This is due to the growing demand for robots worldwide, with estimates of up to US$188 billion in global spending by 2020.

Data61 CEO Adrian Turner believes Australia should focus on automating dangerous tasks and information capture.

“The country's robotics opportunity lies in using robots and sensors to capture information about complex environments and to automate tasks that would otherwise be completed by humans in high-risk situations and at a greater cost,” he explained.

The Alliance comprises Data61; AlphaBeta; Defence Science and Technology Group; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; METS Ignited; National Energy Resources Australia (NERA); QUT; The University of Sydney; The University of Queensland; and Woodside. Other entities interested in furthering Australia’s robotics’ capabilities are welcome to join.

SWA will focus its efforts on a range of industries across Australia “primed for transformation” through autonomous technologies. It said these include defence, agriculture, oil and gas, mining, transport, Smart cities, manufacturing and address STEM education, research and training.  

Dr Sue Keay, Chair of the Robotics Roadmap and chief operating officer at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision said “the formation of the SWA is critical to build a successful path to innovation for robotics R&D”.