The Sixth Wave Alliance (SWA) is a new initiative formed to develop a national robotics R&D strategy and create the critical mass required to address large-scale Australian and international challenges using robotics technologies.
With worldwide spending on robotics expected to reach US$188 billion in 2020, robotics and autonomous system technologies have the potential to solve issues of safety and productivity across many industries.
The Sixth Wave Alliance brings together Data61, AlphaBeta, the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science, METSIgnited, NERA (National Energy Resources Australia), QUT, University of Queensland and Woodside, and is open to any other organisation interested in advancing Australia’s robotics opportunities.
The roots of the SWA are in the development of the Robotics Roadmap for Australia, led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision. A unified robotics industry can help assist Australia’s workforce, advance the economy with new business opportunities and address the nation’s challenges from limited resources to the spatial distribution of cities and hubs of industry.
The alliance will focus its efforts on a range of industries primed for transformation through autonomous technologies. These include: defence, agriculture, oil and gas, mining, transport, and smart cities. Other areas the alliance will address include STEM education, research and training.
The application of robotics into these sectors will have a positive impact for the humans working alongside them. For example, autonomous robots could be used for mapping unstable mining environments or automating long-haul freight transport.
According to Data61 CEO Adrian Turner: “The country’s robotics opportunity lies in using robots and sensors to capture information about complex environments and to automate tasks that would otherwise be completed by humans in high risk situations and at a greater cost. As every sector becomes data-driven, areas like Australia's healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing and mining industries are primed for enhancement via robotics and autonomous systems.”
“SWA will allow us to put Australia on the map as the global leader in robotics. The national robotics R&D strategy will create opportunities for the robotics industry to work with the Australian government and private sector to drive scale and increase Australia’s competitive on an international scale,” Turner concluded.