Data61, the digital innovation arm of CSIRO, has announced the opening of its new Robotics Innovation Centre — a purpose-built research facility for robotics and autonomous systems, an industry set to be worth $23 billion by 2025.
Fred Pauling, leader of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at Data61, said the Brisbane-based, 600 m2 facility will enhance the group’s world-class research capabilities, ranging from legged robots and 3D mapping through to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).
“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.”
The centre houses what is claimed to be the biggest motion capture system in the Southern Hemisphere, used to validate data collected by robotics systems. It also features a 13 x 5 m pool for testing aquatic robots, a significant number of field-deployable UAVs and UGVs, legged robots, high-accuracy robot manipulators, sensors and telemetry systems.
Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said the centre is a national asset that combines internationally recognised robotics and machine learning research with deep domain expertise from CSIRO, providing collaboration opportunities for industry, government and academia. It includes dedicated mechanical and electronics engineering laboratories, several high-end rapid prototyping machines, large sheds for indoor systems testing, an open-air UAV flying area and outdoor testing areas including a forest and creek.
“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.”