Research Hub in Intelligent Robotic Systems for Real-Time Asset Management

Intelligent Robotic Systems for Real-Time Asset Management

This research hub aims to transform the way assets and infrastructure are managed by developing new capabilities for intelligent robotic systems for inspection, monitoring, and maintenance.

This 5-year Research Hub is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and 11 partners from industry. It is a joint project led the University of Sydney, with QUT and the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

The hub expects to generate new knowledge in robotics and associated fields including sensing, planning, data processing, and machine learning using interdisciplinary approaches and tight collaboration between academia and industry. The expected outcomes are robots with the ability to autonomously collect data for integration into a digital twin that provides a real-time representation of the true state of a physical asset. The benefits include both improved asset management and establishing Australia as a leading manufacturer of advanced robotic systems.

What We Do

This ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub (ITRH) will develop and deliver new intelligent robotic systems to transform the way assets are managed. Terrestrial assets such as factories, towers and bridges, as well as offshore assets such as gas platforms and pipelines, require frequent monitoring and maintenance to ensure their functional integrity and safety and maximise their lifespan.  These assets are often vast in scale, intricate in geometry, and sometimes located in difficult-to-reach areas and challenging environmental conditions. These circumstances severely restrict, and in some cases prohibit, manual inspections and repairs, and lead to considerable costs and safety risks.

Intelligent robotic systems partnered with digital twins hold exceptional promise for transforming the way assets and infrastructure are managed. However, there are deep scientific challenges that need to be resolved before this promise can be realised. Better capabilities are required in mission planning, navigation and control, perception, and mapping. Our team will work together to advance the fundamental science, technological development, and industry impact of intelligent robotic systems for asset management.

The Hub has four specific aims:

  1. To advance the fundamental science of robotics in three core areas: planning and control, sensing and perception, and mapping and insights.
  2. To develop and demonstrate never-before-seen capabilities for robotic systems that will enable them to inspect and interact with complex assets in challenging environmental conditions.
  3. To drive growth by creating new robotics technologies that give Australian industry a competitive advantage in a rapidly growing market.
  4. To build capacity by training researchers and building new links between academia and industry.

By addressing these aims, the Hub will deliver a step-change in robotics capabilities for asset management, enabling reliable, robust and safe semi-autonomous and autonomous inspection and maintenance of large complex structures in challenging environments. This will make Australian companies world-leaders in the advanced technologies underpinning this step-change, creating high-skilled jobs and boosting revenue. Ultimately these advances will transform the way assets and critical infrastructure are managed, reducing maintenance costs and increasing “uptime” and thereby improving productivity and competitiveness across the Australian economy.

PhD and Postdoc Positions Available!

Starting in 2022, we will have several fully-funded PhD positions available at QUT and our partner universities in Sydney and Canberra.

We will also hire multiple excellent Postdoctoral Research Fellows. More information will be available towards the end of 2021.


Chief Investigators