Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems (CAS) research director Hugh Durrant-Whyte has led the development of robots for use in a variety of industries, including mining, sea exploration, and agriculture. CAS' work is aimed at improving efficiency and safety rather than reducing workforce needs. For example, farmers can use an unmanned dwarf helicopter to seek and destroy two plant species, instead of covering the area with pesticides.
Meanwhile, the government, research scientists, and oil firms are using small robot submarines to search for oil and gas fields. Ecologists and gas miners also use robotic submarines to map coral distribution.
Durrant-Whyte says that artificial intelligence technology is being developed that will enable the robots to analyze information collected by sensors. He also is designing robot navigation systems with better real-time laser terrain sensors and radar.
Another group is testing the use of robotic technology in health care, including an intelligent walking aid and an autonomous wheelchair.
From Computerworld Australia
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