The University of Sydney has launched the Australian Robotic Inspection and Asset Management Hub (ARIAM) which researchers say will transform the way important assets are handled.
ARIAM’s work will reduce the need for people to enter dangerous or hazardous locations to maintain assets such as tunnels and underwater infrastructure. It will also help manage the looming ‘infrastructure cliff’, which will see many post-World War II infrastructure assets approach their end of life.
Its work will lead to accurate and timely data collection, enhance safety, minimise disruption during maintenance and improve the efficiency of industry.
Researchers at ARIAM are led by professor Ian Manchester, from the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, who also directs the Australian Centre for Robotics.
The team plans to develop semi-autonomous and autonomous machines capable of inspecting and maintaining complex structures in challenging environments, removing the need for people to enter dangerous or hazardous locations.
“This initiative marks a significant leap forward for robotics and will change the way industry operates,” professor Manchester said.
“With new designs we can eliminate the risk of injury associated with manned operations to inspect remote or dangerous areas, such as tunnels or underwater infrastructure, and enter previously inaccessible areas.”
Professor Stefan Williams from the Australian Centre for Robotics and School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, said, “Australia faces a critical situation, with many of its post-World War II infrastructure assets rapidly approaching the end of their 50 to 80-year lifespan.”
“This ‘infrastructure cliff’ presents a mounting maintenance backlog and the nation’s productivity and global competitiveness depend on efficient infrastructure networks,” Williams continued.
“Our work has applications in public sector infrastructure, including roads and utility networks, but also in renewable energy, space, mining, and land care.”