Thursday, 31 August 2017 11:37

Eureka Prize awarded to Sydney Uni robotics engineer

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Professor Salah Sukkarieh, an engineer from the University of Sydney, has been awarded the 2017 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science.

The prize, an annual award by the Australian Museum, was presented to Prof Sukkarieh at a dinner on Wednesday held at the Sydney Town Hall.

The Eureka Prizes are meant to reward achievements in  scientific research and innovation, science leadership, school science and science journalism and communication.

Prof Sukkarieh is the director of Research and Innovation at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at the University of Sydney. 

He is also the director for the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation and the Horticulture Innovation Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, leads a project on smart farming systems for nutrition at the Charles Perkins Centre and also heads a project on nanorobotics at the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

eureka

The award citation said he had "significantly advanced the fundamentals of autonomous systems science and his research has provided impactful solutions to barriers in important large-scale engineering operations across various industries. 

"His key technological breakthroughs have included developing better navigation systems for aerial and ground robotics, better prediction of fuel consumption for flight systems, developing better environmental management tools and more."

Prof Sukkarieh and his team at the ACFR are working with Australian farmers to help grow their crops in smarter and more efficient ways. 

"By using robotic devices to assess, maintain and ultimately harvest crops, they are improving food sustainability while battling the effects of climate change," the statement said.

“I am honoured, humbled and very pleased to have won the award," Prof Sukkarieh said. "This award is as much a reflection of the dedication and support of the people around me – from my team, through to the Faculty of Engineering and Information and Technologies and the University of Sydney, and to my family."

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said the awards revealed the creative side of fundamental and applied research.

“In order to break new ground, we need to unlearn what we think we know and embrace what is new – that is what the Eureka prizes are all about. I am very proud of Prof Sukkarieh, who has gained due recognition for his outstanding research," Dr Spence said.

Photos: courtesy University of Sydney


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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