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Background.

Following the initial setup of the Sixth Wave Alliance (SWA) in early 2018, its founding members have been interacting, initiating partnerships and enquiring on the best direction of the alliance. As it has become clear that despite the robotics industry in Australia being world-class in some areas, it is highly fragmented and requires a more focussed, collaborative approach to gain visibility and traction within critical Australian industry supply chains.

We are building a National Robotics Network.

As interest grew from other parties since the SWA inception, a new meeting was proposed to gather all those interested in discussing SWA’s future direction with a view of it serving as a National Robotics Network.

As a result, over 60 people met face-to-face at CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT) on 27 November 2019 – joined by more than 30 others via web conference – to learn and discuss the creation of an independent National Robotics Network to potentially replace the Sixth Wave Alliance.

The network has 4 main objectives.

1. Promote

Promote and facilitate the creation of a robotics manufacturing and technology industry in Australia.

2. Support

Support existing Australian robotics and automation companies and encourage collaboration.

3. Increase

Increase the adoption of robotics technology across Australia, including in SME supply chains.

4. Develop

Develop and foster a positive social narrative in Australia around robotics.

The Network Will Include:

Representatives from industry, research, government, start-ups, investment, education, policy, law, and ethics who are passionate about building a robust and world-class ecosystem for robotics for the greater benefit of Australia

Mission & Purpose

Australia-wide and international attendees representing educational & research institutions, government bodies, plus several SMEs and large companies working across research, prototyping, product development, deployment, as well as end-users of robotics and automation technologies participated in the meeting.

The purpose of the National Robotics Network will be to drive uptake of robotic technology and accelerate the growth of our domestic robotics industry. An advanced manufacturing and technology industry that will design, build, deploy and service advanced robotic systems for domestic and international consumption.

We see this as an opportunity to provide Australia with new employment opportunities, high-value global skills and capabilities, and technological sovereignty. We aspire to see an Australian robotics industry that will support the strength and competitiveness of our domestic industries; including mining, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, avionics, defence, and many more.

Next Steps

The next steps following the meeting are to decide on the structure and governance arrangements required to form the Robotics Australia Network at a workshop to be held in early February. A full meeting of the network will then be convened later in 2020, as well as workshops across the country, to initiate the second edition of the Robotics Roadmap for Australia.

“Whilst the network will have a national focus; it will collaborate with or create state-based representatives who will seed the development of technology clusters and research hubs, in both metropolitan and regional areas. This will support local input into the robotics supply chain. A measure of the network’s success will be the diversity and strength of the Australian Robotics ecosystem and uptake of robotic technology by industry. “

– Dr Sue Keay

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