Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Australia To Be Run By Robots

"Australia may end up being one of the biggest users of robotics in the world," says Professor Durrant-Whyte, director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems - at the University of Sydney - who leads a team of 200 researchers - the world's second-biggest such centre.

The professor will be stating his case tomorrow at the Computing the Future Symposium in Sydney.

Australia's remote areas with sparse population, harsh environment and wide open spaces make it ideal for the employment of robots. He says that Australia's mining industry is already struggling to get human workers and will be forced to use robots.

A Port of Brisbane container terminal is already run by
65 ton Autostrad robots.

The University of Western Australia already has a robot arm that is remotely operated by custom software over the internet. Try it out here.

The australian parliment just aproved $17.45 million for the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) facilities to be built at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera. The base will support the growing use of unmanned aircraft over Australian lands and seas.

There are limits though, he says. He believes that tasks around the average household like climbing stairs and pouring a glass of water will remain beyond the reach of robots. Australians have a long wait, he feels, before they have humanoid robot helpers in their home. [Obviously he has never compared prices of household robots at the Roboteria]

Also the development may be slowed by lack of support. He warns Australia needs more investment. "The (federal) Government is putting money into it, but in Europe and the US there's more funding and more effort. There are multimillion-dollar initiatives. We will need that to be part of that international agenda."

The robot agenda.

Australia's jobs boom for robots - Technology - theage.com.au


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