Field Robotics Cluster Muster

The Queensland Field Robotics Cluster has met in Brisbane, with 60 representatives from METS, mining, research, manufacturing and the technology organisations participating in discussions about social licence, commercial viability, capability and employment, and other critical topics.

Clusters have proven themselves globally to be a mechanism for solid economic growth and wealth of opportunity.  The METS and Mining industry has the unique opportunity to leverage the strong Robotics and Automation capability here in Queensland and launch Australia further onto the world stage of innovation.

It's this opportunity that has brought together companies like Artemis Intelligent Robotic Systems and Universal Field Robotics, to form the Queensland Field Robotics Cluster. The purpose of the event was to solidify the networks within the cluster, address emerging needs and trends, and identify collaborative solutions.

At the forefront of the discussion were the challenges presented by shifting jobs in the new digital landscape, and consequently, the need for broad community support in the implementation of automation and robotics solutions.

Speaking at the event, BHP Vice President Technology Rag Udd said bringing the community along on the journey and educating them about the employment opportunities will be fundamental to success.

"Adopting technology does provide us with a lot of opportunity, but only if we do it in the right way. If people are scared and concerned that they're not going to have a job they're going to back away and not want to be a part of it, so my job is to paint a picture that includes them," Udd says.

METS Ignited plays a supporting role for the Cluster, providing coordination, guidance and resources to the group. Cluster Development Manager Sergio Zaccaria said the Cluster is in a good position to create value for the sector and for themselves.

"It's great to see the cluster come together to explore ways to capitalise on the opportunities and work on the challenges of the fast approaching new paradigm that is Industry 4.0. IoT, Ai, Machine learning, Data Analytics and Robotics plus Automation have the potential to deliver high paying jobs and future prosperity.

"This group is one of few in the country embracing the opportunities presented by clustering and collectively has the potential to deliver multi-faceted solutions to mining, resources and many other industry sectors globally. The challenge is to move quickly and embrace the natural advantages we have in Australia with our established research, manufacturing and technology sectors," Zaccaria says.

The Cluster will now meet bi-monthly with the aim of developing a collective identity, pooling knowledge and identifying opportunities for collaboration.

If collaborative projects are established, the Cluster members are also likely to be eligible to submit for the fourth round of the METS Ignited Project Funds which will see $4M in funding provided to projects delivering mining solutions in this space. Learn more about the METS Ignited Project Funds here.


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