Robotics researchers win AFR Award

17 November 2016

The University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics was recognised for its work engaging with industry at the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards last night.

A photo of Dr Steven Scheding with the trophy.

Dr Steven Scheding, with the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Award for Industry Engagement.

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR), one of the world’s largest field robotics research institutes, has received an AFR Higher Education Award in the Industry Engagement category.

Announcing the winner, the judges acknowledged the centre’s ongoing collaboration with industry.

“In an area that will only continue to grow in importance for the Australian economy, the ACFR has clearly been very successful in securing the buy-in of major industry partners and creating deep, sustainable and mutually beneficial research relationships that already have an impressive track record of results.”

At the awards ceremony in Melbourne, Dr Steven Scheding, Director of the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation, part of the ACFR, accepted the award on behalf of the University – to rousing applause from colleagues.

Speaking at the event, he thanked the AFR for the recognition and paid respect to the other worthy finalists.

Describing the centre’s success as a “massive team effort”, Dr Scheding noted the input of the 130 staff whose work contributed to the win.

We’ve managed to find a way of bridging how to do things in principle, which is what we do at universities, and how to do things in practice. We’ve built that into the relationships we’ve developed, in some cases over a decade, with industrial partners.
Dr Steven Scheding

Unmanned aerial vehicle lab; Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Director of Research and Innovation at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, with researchers.

Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) congratulated the centre saying: “Engagement with industry is an important part of our research mission and the University is committed to creating connections between our researchers and all industry sectors.

“The Australian Centre for Field Robotics, for example, has been dedicated to working with industry to translate research in autonomous systems science. It has helped Rio Tinto realise its vision of a fully autonomous, remotely-operated mine and worked with Qantas to help optimise routes and reduce fuel consumption.” 

University finalists and previous winners

Four finalists from the University were contenders at this year’s Awards, an initiative to highlight the contribution the higher education sector makes to Australian prosperity and quality of life.

The other finalists were:

At the inaugural Awards last year, the University’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health won in the Community Engagement category

Rachel Fergus

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