Aerospace and Aviation, Manufacturing News, Robotics & Automation

Robotics and automation continue to boost collaboration and innovation

The relationship between the space and resources sectors in Australia continues to mature and is now attracting the attention of other industries.

Increased partnerships between like-minded organisations, such as Robotics Australia Group and AROSE, are strengthening Australia’s robotics and automation ecosystem.

The links between the space sector and other industries are growing stronger as a result.

AROSE Director Space & Resources Michelle Keegan led the largest mining and METS sector mission to the NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

The mission showcased the innovative approaches to exploration, novel robotics and sensing technologies designed by Australia’s METS sector that could be deployed into space exploration.

“The mission was based on NASA’s desire to better understand and collaborate on new approaches to exploration, in which Australia has many decades of experience to leverage,” said Keegan.

“Together we will continue to build and refine new approaches to exploration with the goal of delivering improved exploration outcomes applicable to both on and off world.”

Ms Keegan said AROSE is driven to help expand opportunities for Australian businesses by connecting the METS sector to the space sector, and so enabling two-way technology transfer.

“By expanding into the space sector, non-space suppliers can become more financially resilient and help diversify the Australian economy. Also, through increased cross-sector collaboration staff on both sides are acquiring new skills and expertise,” said Keegan.

CEO of remote operations collaborator AROSE, Leanne Cunnold has also announced that NASA has asked Australia to design, build, test and remotely operate a lunar rover due to Australia’s capabilities in remote operations and autonomous systems.

“When the Australian-made rover rolls out across the Moon in a future scientific mission for NASA, it will be a nation-building demonstration of how the sharing of expertise and technology improves outcomes in space and on Earth,” said Cunnold.

The Australian Government’s recently released National Robotics Strategy outlines a vision to develop and adopt sovereign robotics and automation solutions to secure Australia’s future.

The strategy is supported by the $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia package announced by the Australian Government in this year’s budget, as well as the existing $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.

Support for enabling technologies, including robotics and automation, is a key pillar of the latter plan.

Robotics Australia Group founder and chair Dr Sue Keay was a member of the government’s advisory committee helping shape the strategy.

Keay said it is a myth more robots would lead to widespread job losses and that investing in robotics and automation leads to employment growth.

“While the adoption of robotics and automation may disrupt or change particular tasks in certain industries, research indicates that robotics will lead to a net growth in jobs by complementing and improving the productivity and job growth of many sectors,” said Keay.

Robotics Australia Group is currently working on an updated Robotics Roadmap for 2025 to raise the profile and capability of robotics in Australia.

Robotics Australia Group is calling on Australian robotics industry players to contribute to the roadmap.

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