CSIRO’s Data61 has opened a new Robotics Innovation Centre in Queensland, a purpose-built research facility for robotics and autonomous systems.

The industry is tipped to be worth $23 billion by 2025 as more use cases are developed for unmanned ground vehicles, legged robots and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The robots’ new home is based in the Brisbane suburb of Pullenvale. It will house the southern hemisphere’s largest motion capture device — used to validate data collected by robotics systems — as well as a pool for testing underwater robots, engineering laboratories, rapid prototyping machines, and indoor/outdoor testing areas.

Fred Pauling, robotics and autonomous systems group leader at CSIRO’s Data61, said the 600-square-metre facility would enhance the group’s world-class research capabilities.

“The new centre expands our research infrastructure to develop highly autonomous robotics systems that can interact safely and seamlessly with humans and other dynamic agents, in challenging indoor and outdoor environments,” Pauling said.

“Our robots are already being used to safely inspect and create 3D maps of underground mines, monitor biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest and navigate difficult terrain in emergency situations.”

Data61 Robotics Innovation Centre, in Pullenvale, Queensland.

Adrian Turner, CEO of Data61, said the centre will allow collaboration opportunities for 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.

“By creating a cohesive approach to robotics R&D through closer collaboration, supported by world-class facilities like the Robotics Innovation Centre, we can ensure Australia is well placed to benefit from Industry 4.0 and help to protect and accelerate our nation’s ongoing economic success.”

Data61’s robotics infrastructure is open for industry use and collaborative projects. This includes dedicated mechanical and electronics engineering laboratories, several high-end rapid prototyping machines, large sheds for indoors systems testing, an open-air UAV flying area and outdoor testing areas including a forest and creek.

The opening of the centre follows the launch of Data61 Sixth Wave Alliance last year, a network which network which seeks to integrate key robotics research organisations and industry partners in Australia to enable a higher level of R&D collaboration.   

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