Ro­botic tech­nolo­gies will re­duce the cost of trans­port­ing goods and, as a re­sult, cause wide­spread job loss, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

RO­BOTIC TECH­NOLO­GIES will re­duce the cost of trans­port­ing goods and, as a re­sult, cause wide­spread job loss, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port pre­pared by in­dus­trial and aca­demic col­lab­o­ra­tive group.

The state­ment was made in the Robotics Roadmap, a ma­jor re­port pre­pared by the Aus­tralian Cen­tre for Ro­bot Vi­sion ( ACRV), led by re­searchers from Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, the Univer­sity of Ade­laide, the Aus­tralian Na­tional Univer­sity and Monash Univer­sity.

“Distri­bu­tion ser­vices have a strong in­flu­ence on other parts of the Aus­tralian econ­omy and will face sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion, par­tic­u­larly in lo­gis­tics, with the ad­vent of new tech­nolo­gies such as self- driv­ing cars,” the re­port says.

To pre­pare for this, the re­port says Aus­tralia’s pri­mary role should be in de­vel­op­ing sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture, reg­u­la­tions and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments “given the lack of an au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try”.

“The sec­tor has an age­ing work­force, and re­tail and lo­gis­tics are be­com­ing more com­plex, re­quir­ing ro­botic so­lu­tions,” the re­port says. “The needs of this sec­tor are di­verse. Ware­hous­ing, trans­port, and cus­tomer-fac­ing re­tail a ll have dif­fer­ent needs, and all face dis­rup­tion to es­tab­lished busi­ness mod­els.

“In Queens­land alone, the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads es­ti­mates that 20 per cent of the state’s f leet will be au­tonomous be­tween 2034 and 2045, in­creas­ing to 100 per cent be­tween 2048 and 2057, with sim­i­lar ben­e­fits ex­pected for all Aus­tralian states.”

ACRV chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Sue Keay says the re­port is a f irst step to­wards a na­tional strat­egy for in­vest­ment in ro­botic tech­nol­ogy – with the re­port say­ing the global mar­ket for robotics and au­tonomous sys­tems will be worth $ 23 bil­lion by 2025. Keay says that while a num­ber of new ro­botic tech­nolo­gies are be­ing de­vel­oped in Aus­tralia to help im­prove de­liv­ery ser­vices, the sec­tor is only be­com­ing more com­plex with steadily ris­ing de­mand.

“It’s im­por­tant we in­vest in new tech­nol­ogy to help sup­port growth and op­ti­mise suc­cess,” she says, cit­ing lower trans­porta­tion costs and help with labour short­ages as be­ing among the ben­e­fits.

“This is not just about mak­ing in­dus­tries more au­to­mated; it’s about mak­ing sure our fu­ture ro­botic tech­nolo­gies drive the trans­for­ma­tion of ex­ist­ing in­dus­tries and cre­ate safer and more pro­duc­tive work­places for Aus­tralian work­ers and busi­nesses.”

She notes that Aus­tralia is cur­rently ranked as 18th in the world for global au­toma­tion by the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Robotics.

“We as a na­tion need to stop lag­ging be­hind the rest of the world and start un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing the po­ten­tial Aus­tralian ro­bots can un­leash,” she says.

“It’s time we start un­der­stand­ing ro­bots as ev­ery­day prob­lem solvers rather than sci­en­tific fan­tasy.”

Sue Keay

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