Pyne launches research centre to help robots see like humans

MINISTER for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP has last night launched a new Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence that is working to allow robots to 'see' as humans do.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision at Queensland University of Technology has received $19 million in Australian Government funding to advance computer vision and robotics research.

Minister Pyne said the centre's research program, involving international collaborations, was important in driving Australia's success in robotics research and advanced manufacturing.

"Robotic vision is the key enabling technology that will allow robotics to transform labour-intensive industries and improve productivity," Mr Pyne said.

"The centre has its own research version of a Baxter robot to conduct its research-currently the Baxter robot eyes are only to signal intent.

"In my home state of South Australia, a manufacturing version of the Baxter robot is to be installed at the iconic Haigh's Chocolates - I understand that this will be the first industrial implementation of a Baxter robot in Australia.

"What this new ARC Centre of Excellence will do is improve robot technology to create a new generation of robots that can visually sense and understand complex and unstructured real-world environments.

"Researchers will experiment and look to technology like the Xbox Kinect to help direct Baxter's actions as if he had real eyes.

"The Australian Government deeply values the need for a robust and thriving research sector that drives the future development of our industries.

"This particular Centre of Excellence is a wonderful example of how a research program, focussed on end-user perspectives, can lead to greater productivity," Mr Pyne said.