Monash University opens new robotics research facility

Monash University

Tuesday, 03 May, 2022

Monash University opens new robotics research facility

The Monash University Faculty of Engineering has announced that it has launched a new world-class robotics research facility to train the next generation of engineers and global innovators, and drive the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) economy.

The $6.5 million investment into Monash Robotics furthers the work of Monash University in the development of a world-leading robotics precinct, which includes the Makerspace, Monash Smart Manufacturing Hub, Data Futures Institute and Monash Generator.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said the launch of the research facility is an important step in advancing AI knowledge and innovation.

“Robots are changing and improving the lives of people across the globe every day,” she said. “This investment shows our ongoing commitment to world-leading research and education in this important and dynamic field, and aligns with our goals and ambitions within Monash’s Strategic Plan, Impact 2030, to address the great challenges of our time through innovative and excellent education and research.”

The Monash Robotics Research Facility will enable researchers to be at the forefront of robotics and AI innovation, to support and enhance impactful robotics research by bringing together top researchers to work on developing robots that can improve the economy and wellbeing. The university says the lab will foster collaboration and effective robotics development, providing experimental space and equipment to enable realistic experimental validation.

“This is a very exciting step for Monash University,” said Professor Elizabeth Croft, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “Robotics and AI will deliver the next generation of breakthrough technologies and will rapidly change the way we live and work, and help shape our future.”

Robotics deployment across the world is rising rapidly, with the International Federation of Robotics reporting that 3 million industrial robots were operating in factories around the world in 2021.

Governments are now roadmapping and investing heavily in robotics research across the world. With the launch of the Robotics Research Facility, Monash University is taking advantage of the immense research and industry collaboration opportunities.

Professor Dana Kulic, Director of Monash Robotics and an ARC Future Fellow, says the lab will be focused on four key areas of innovation — design and manipulation, modelling and control, perception and learning, and human–robot interaction — with the work applied across a wide range of industry sectors including manufacturing, transportation, construction, medical and surgical, mining and agriculture, as well as both assistive and service robotics.

“It is a very exciting time for robotics research,” Kulic said. “Robotics is at the cusp of driving the next wave of innovation in society. Research undertaken in our lab will develop the next generation of human-centred robots, capable of supporting and empowering people at work, in the home and in exploration.

“I’m excited to build on Monash’s existing research strengths in robotics to develop an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to robotics research and education — not just traditional robotics in industry and manufacturing, but robotics that work in human environments with and for people.”

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