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Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems

Exploring the global impact of robotics and intelligent systems

The centre researches the social, ethical, legal and economic implications of robotics and intelligent systems, particularly in areas of transportation, health and medicine, the environment, primary industries, emergency services, the workplace and home.

The Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems: Science and Society (CRIS) looks at the social impact of robots becoming an integral part of the world. Our research looks at the value and effect of this technology, from an ethical, economic, educational and employment perspective. We also analyse the latest technical developments with an aim to put Australia’s – and the University’s – reputation for developing world-leading technologies on the world map.

In collaboration with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, one of the largest robotics research institutes in the world, CRIS is uniquely at the forefront of advancements in robotics and intelligent systems, while also being able to address the impact of this technology on society.

The centre is multidisciplinary, bringing together researchers and practitioners within robotics, automation, science, business, humanities and arts disciplines from across the University. 

  1. Key objectives
  2. Our research areas
  3. Our partners
ACFR "rippa" robot in the field

Key objectives

Our vision is to be the pre-eminent multidisciplinary research and technology development institute for fundamental and applied research in field, service, medical, environmental and social robotics and associated artificially intelligent systems.

We will achieve this vision by:

  • developing the fundamental underpinning science of robotics and intelligent systems and providing compelling, real-world demonstrations in targeted application areas
  • undertaking collaborative multidisciplinary research and government engagement to understand the social, ethical, legal and public policy dimensions of robotics and intelligent systems, and their broad impact on society.
  • establishing partnerships between engineering, science, business, humanities and arts disciplines within the University to extend the understanding of the impact robotics and intelligent systems can have, and shape this impact, through collaborative research and education programs.
  • collaborating with the broader community to develop the research and technology pathways that best realise the vast potential of robotics and intelligent systems. 

Our research areas

Our publications can be found in the hyperlinked academic profiles of the researchers in each research area. 

Our experts: Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Professor Eduardo Nebot, Professor Stefan Williams, Associate Professor Ian Manchester, Associate Professor Fabio Ramos, Dr Graham Brooker, Dr Oscar Pizarro, Dr David Johnson, Dr James Underwood

Our partnersCentre for Translational Data ScienceMIT and Uppsala University.

The research program examines how robotic systems create meaning and real-time ‘understanding’ of the world in which they operate, using the large amounts of data collected by and available to the intelligent systems. The program involves developing novel sensing systems, planning how to best represent information, modelling and managing uncertainty, and data fusion.

Our experts: Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Professor Eduardo Nebot, Professor Stefan Williams, Associate Professor Fabio Ramos, Associate Professor David Rye, Ms Mari Velonaki, Associate Professor Ian Manchester, Dr Oscar Pizarro, Dr David Johnson and Dr James Underwood.

Our partners: Human-centred Technology Hub (for the design of experiments involving humans and robots), MIT and UNSW.

This research area looks into the perception process of robots which leads to understanding and then prediction to show how factors can be manipulated to achieve a particular outcome. Being able to anticipate uncertainty in the model state, system parameters and action space can allow for more reliable systems.

Our experts: Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Professor Eduardo Nebot, Professor Stefan Williams, Associate Professor Fabio Ramos, Associate Professor David Rye, Dr Graham Brooker, Dr Oscar Pizarro, Dr David Johnson, Associate Professor Ian Manchester, Dr James Underwood and Ms Mari Velonaki

Our partners: UNSW, UTS, Stanford.

This research program focuses on the development of novel systems that meet a research, societal or industrial need. The Australian Centre for Field Robotics has traditionally focused on unmanned ground, air and underwater vehicles, but currently there is more focus on software agents and systems. Advances in nanomaterials, energy storage, manufacturing, connectivity and powerful distributed computational systems allow for the development of novel machines, intelligent systems and automated industrial operations.

Our experts: Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Professor Eduardo Nebot, Associate Professor David Rye and Ms Mari Velonaki

Partners: Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies in the University of Sydney Business School, Sydney Law School, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

This theme focuses on the impact of automation on skills development and changes to traditional economic activities, on the legal and regulatory environments required to manage relationships between people and robotic systems, and the ethics around the changing nature of work and development of artificial cognitive systems.