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HEALTH AFFAIRS GOVERNMENTS, universities and industry need to work together to take advantage of the rise of robotics, in order to see Queensland’s economy boosted by up to $117.5 billion, a new report shows.
The Robotics and Automation Advantage for Queensland report, released last week, identified that embracing automation could provide anywhere between 492,950 and 1.1 million jobs by 2028 and add between $37.4 billion and $117.5 billion to Gross State Product.
The report, developed by Synergies Economic Consulting in collaboration with QUT and the Queensland Government, said potential benefits from robotics and automation included new jobs, and enabling former Queenslandbased companies to move back here.
It concluded that the faster the uptake across the state’s industries, the greater the ben- efits and the lesser the impacts on job dislocation.
QUT vice-chancellor Margaret Sheil said the report sent a strong message on the importance of training and education in the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and maths because technology, robots and automation would have “widespread impact on human life”.
Robotics development has been under way in Brisbane for more than two decades – with Australia’s first autonomous port.
Brisbane also saw the launch of the world’s first pizza delivery robot, and QUT’s Crown-of-Thorns Starfish robot was first tested in Moreton Bay before being trialled on the Great Barrier Reef to control the spread of the reef-eating starfish.
QUT is currently developing a robotics research project to create vision-enabled, agile and adaptable robots which small and medium-sized enterprises could use to make high-value products that open export opportunities and create more jobs.
Australian Centre for Robotic Vision CEO Dr Sue Keay said the report reinforced earlier research that showed robotics was key to Australia attaining productivity growth and maintaining its standard of living.
Dr Keay said Queensland was perfectly positioned to host a world-leading “technology cluster” to further advance development of a robot economy with national and global impact.
She gave the example of Pittsburgh in the US, where a cluster of small-to-medium sized enterprises secured $499 million venture capital in 2014-15.
“Similar to Queensland, Pittsburgh’s key to success was the existence of a well-established robotics-focused university, opening the door to cutting-edge innovation and collaboration,” she said.