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National Robotics Strategy a Strong Foundation for Thriving Industry

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) welcomes the National Robotics Strategy, which recognizes Australia’s strengths in research and development (R&D) and outlines a plan for a strong and coordinated robotics industry that could deliver significant economic gains.

The Strategy, released today, incorporates improvements to the draft framework, including recommendations suggested by ATSE in the consultation process.

The Strategy gets the foundations right by modernising definitions which enable a shared understanding of technical terminology and emphasises that growing a skilled and diverse workforce are critical to a thriving Australian robotics capability.

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said, “The success of the Strategy depends on the availability of a highly trained workforce of STEM professionals and particularly engineers.

“As put forward in ATSE’s submission, building a robotics workforce is critical and recruitment should include diverse and underrepresented groups identified through the Government’s Diversity in STEM review.”

Robotics R&D are highlighted as a strength of the Australian industry. The Strategy provides the case study of Finisar optical switching technology, which is core to global internet traffic and was developed in part by ATSE Fellows Dr Simon Poole and Dr Steven Frisken.

They and their collaborators were recognized with a Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in 2018.

Importantly, the Strategy emphasises the importance of cybersecurity. As articulated in ATSE’s submission, cybersecurity must be at the core of emerging technologies to ensure mission-critical systems and collected data are protected. The Robotics Strategy’s connection to the 2023-2030 Cyber Security Strategy is a welcome step.

ATSE is pleased to see that the Strategy acknowledges and builds upon the work of the Robotics Australia Group, chaired by ATSE Fellow and Strategy advisory group member Sue Keay FTSE, in developing industry roadmaps.

With a consolidated Strategy to guide the development of the robotics industry, ATSE hopes to see new funding, including for R&D, to enable Australia to realise the industry’s productivity benefits.

Kylie Walker said, “The Strategy’s success indicators outline a clear and achievable vision for bolstering the Australian robotics industry. Increased robotics R&D expenditure and increased government procurement of Australian-made robotics systems will be central to building on our current robotics opportunities.”

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