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Two ACFR robots in action in a farm field, one wheeled, one drone
Centres and institutes_

Australian Centre for Field Robotics

One of the largest robotics research institutes in the world

Our centre focuses on the research, development and application of autonomous and intelligent robots, and systems for use in outdoor environments.

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) has been instrumental in developing breakthrough technologies, conducting world-renowned research and developing field robotics principles and systems.

Key objectives

The centre's mission is to undertake research to develop new field robotics and intelligent systems theories and methods, and apply them in industrial, social and environmental settings.

We are committed to developing technologies in four core areas:

  • sensors, fusion and perception
  • movement, control and decisions
  • modelling, learning and adapting
  • architectures, systems and cooperation of robotics and intelligent systems.

Our research


Our experts: Mr William Reid, Dr Ali Haydar Goktogan, Associate Professor Robert Fitch, and Professor Salah Sukkarieh.

The ACFR is building a prototype to increase mobility for planetary rovers compared to conventional Mars rovers. The rover has wheels and legs to drive over benign ground and clamber over unstructured terrain. Novel motion planning software has been developed to take advantage of the platform's re-configurability and reduce energy usage.

High resolution range profiles

Our experts: Dr Graham Booker and Mr Tomasz Jasinski

Our industry partners: Defence Science and Technology (DST) group

PhD student, Tomasz Jasinski worked on the imaging capability of a small, low-power 94GHz (W-band) sensor for high-resolution range profiles, a common form of radar imaging. The project addressed the imaging problems of maritime targets and performed target classification such as naïve Bayes, support vector machines, classical correlation and linear discriminant analysis.

Autonomous mining

Our experts: Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Dr Andrew Hill, Dr Arman Melkumyan and Mr Alex Lowe

Our industry partners: Rio Tinto

Seeking step change in safety, predictability, precision and efficiency for its mining operations, Rio Tinto approached the University of Sydney’s ACFR directly to undertake a collaborative research project through the establishment of the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation (RTCMA). The centre’s work will span 12 years, from 2007 to 2019. It is believed to be the single largest investment in robotics research anywhere in the world.

The aim of RTCMA is to facilitate the realisation of a fully-autonomous, integrated mining operation by undertaking research in autonomous systems, orebody modelling and systems optimisation relevant to Rio Tinto operations.

Read about what we’re doing in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Centre Director

Professor Eduardo Nebot
Academic profile

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