Robotics hub opened in Australia

Thursday, October 06, 2016 by

Australia’s first dedicated robotics centre has opened at the University of Sydney

Article by Gabrielle Easter

he Horticulture Innovation Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (Hicris) was officially opened at the University of Sydney on 6 October.

The first dedicated horticultural robotics centre in Australia is positioned within Sydney University’s Australia Centre for Field Robotics, and will initially have six research fellows, five PhD students and six technical staff working on projects in robotics and technology to improve on-farm efficiency.

“[Hicris] will attract Australia’s brightest minds in engineering and science. It will also act as a training facility for Australian growers and the future generations of students who are passionate about creating innovative solutions to make farming more efficient,” said Salah Sukkarieh, director of research and innovation at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics.

“Never before have we seen this level of innovation in the horticulture industry. Through working with the University of Sydney, we have been able to develop technology that can detect foreign matter, robots with that can map tree-crop architecture, and ground-breaking autonomous weed identification and eradication capabilities,” said John Lloyd, CEO of grower-owned body Horticulture Innovation Australia.

“Through the Horticulture Innovation Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, this research will be further expanded to investigate capabilities such as automated crop forecasting to predict the best time to harvest, and ground penetrating radar sensors to measure things like soil water content.

“This centre will give current and emerging generations of growers and agri-scientists the resources they need to develop their ideas for the benefit of the industry, and all Australians.”

Hicris is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia, using the vegetable levy and Australian government funding.

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