Monday, 09 August 2021 12:10

Ian Manchester takes over as director of Australian Centre for Field Robotics Featured

By Staff Writer
Professor Ian Manchester and the Agility  Robotics Cassie robot Professor Ian Manchester and the Agility Robotics Cassie robot

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics has announced the appointment of Professor Ian Manchester as its new director.

Professor Manchester is an expert in robot control systems and robust machine learning and the Australian Centre for Field Robotics says his first major initiative will be to lead the newly announced ARC Research Hub in Intelligent Robotic Systems for Real-Time Asset Management which has received $5 million from the federal government. 

The hub brings together researchers from the University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology and the Australian National University as well as 11 of Australia’s most innovative technology companies. 

Over the next five years, the hub will develop new capabilities for intelligent robotic systems for inspection, monitoring, and maintenance of critical assets and infrastructure.

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics says that under Professor Manchester’s leadership, the centre will maintain a strong line of research in field robotics, but is also expanding into new fields - including surgical robotics in a new purpose-built hybrid operating theatre in the Sydney Imaging Core Facility, space robotics in new projects funded by the Australian Space Agency and robotic systems for bushfire monitoring and response, through a project funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Professor Manchester takes over as Director from Eduardo Nebot, who retires in 2021 but will continue to be involved in the Centre as an Emeritus Professor.

“I’m delighted to be appointed the Director of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics: it is a fantastic centre with many creative and insightful students and staff, with a long history of both deep fundamental research and real-world impact,” said Professor Manchester, who has also worked and conducted research internationally at Umeå University in Sweden and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. 

“The new ARC Research Hub and projects in medical, space and disaster response robots, as well as new fundamental research lines, including robot imaging and networked systems, paint a very exciting picture for the future of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics.

“We will soon recruit new PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and technical staff, so if you’re keen to get involved watch this space.”

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics - which is one of the largest robotics research organisations in the world - is internationally renowned for its fundamental research in robot perception and control and the development of autonomous systems operating in complex outdoor environments. 

The centre’s research has had a major impact in numerous research areas, including:

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