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What's Inside

Directors Message

Our Research Impact 

Our Engagement

Centre News & Achievements

Feature Story

External Events & Seminars 



Feature Story

Women in Robotics - Kiran Deshmukh

Directors Message

Only just over 3 months into 2022, there’s already been so many amazing achievements and activities in the centre, despite the ongoing challenges and disruption of flooding events and ever present COVID. This newsletter is jam packed with news about the achievements of centre personnel and our collaborators and partners, but it’s worth highlighting a few particularly notable ones. 

Firstly, congratulations to CI Felipe Gonzalez for his appointment to the board of the Civil Aviation Services Authority, often referred to as CASA. With interest in drones and unmanned aerial vehicles sky high (bad pun intended), this is recognition of Felipe’s world class standing and profile in this area, and aligns with a range of research, industry and policy work in this area by other centre members including CI Aaron McFadyen. Congratulations also to CI Christina Kazantzidou for becoming a Senior Member of the IEEE. 

Engagement and outreach is a priority for the centre, and we’ve been busy, with centre members engaging in a range of podcasts, public events and media. It was great to see the centre’s new Spot Mini finally publicly announced, profiled on 7news, and already incorporated into the research of several centre members like PhD student Marisa Bucolo. 

A raft of new grants and project successes are now public: a new ARC Discovery Project on robot navigation, a bushfire grant on building resilience, a major new space testing facility (with UNSW) and autonomous vehicle testing platform (led by QUT collaborators CARRS-Q) supported by two ARC LIEF grants, a grant from chip manufacturer Intel on neuromorphic hardware, an autonomous vehicle project with Ford Motor Corporation, and an ARC Linkage helping BHP improve and automate their copper discovery processes. 

Our leadership of and involvement in various new federal research centres is ramping up as well, with events and workshops run for the Australian Cobotics Centre led by CI Jonathan Roberts, and the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub in Robotic Inspection and Asset Management (led by Sydney Uni), with CIs Suenderhauf and and Corke. We also held our first industry event for the year in AgTech, which was a resounding success, despite a last minute pivot to online-only due to our building being flooded! We will be continuing to run industry events this year on a range of exciting topics and are always open to ideas. 

A centre is a little bit like an iceberg, in that the activities that you hear about in the newsletter are just a small sampling of everything that is going on, much of which is confidential. What’s particularly exciting is the increased involvement of the centre in a number of ongoing national bids for major strategic initiatives, in sectors of sovereign importance to Australia. Expect to hear more in this space over the coming months... 

I am looking forward to stepping out of the office shortly and attending the feature film documentary on our illustrious CI and joint director Peter Corke and hope to see some of you there.  



*Note- apologies for those who may have received the internal newsletter in March. This was an error on our behalf.

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Our Research Impact


Prof Mahen Mahendran, CI Felipe Gonzalez, Dr Anthony Ariyanayagam and Dr Ian Weir have been awarded a Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants $290K on the topic Assessment and Resilient Design of Buildings against Bushfires. 

This project will undertake pre-bushfire assessments of buildings in the Scenic Rim Regional Council. It will first study the buildings damaged in the 2019/20 bushfires, understand why they were damaged, investigate their resilience in future bushfires and propose evidence-based retrofitting solutions. 

> Read more  


AI Tobias Fischer has been successful in obtaining an unrestricted gift from Intel’s Neuromorphic Computing Lab for a project entitled “Active, adaptive and predictive robot localization”. Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) algorithms are at the heart of autonomous mobile vehicles that are deployed in unknown, GPS-deprived, or dynamic environments. Visual place recognition is a particularly challenging part of SLAM that requires robust recognition and discrimination of hundreds of thousands of locations in different conditions. Animals display amazing navigation capabilities, solving this large-scale memory formation and recognition problem with an unprecedented efficiency, flexibility, and robustness.  

New features of Intel’s Loihi-2 enable more complex neuronal models and neural plasticity rules, making it well-positioned to implement the next generation of biologically inspired navigation and map formation algorithms that could surpass today's state of the art in the field. Tobi will lead the project, assisted by CI Michael Milford and working with researchers in the Centre including PhD student Somayeh Hussaini. 


CI Niko Suenderhauf and Prof Ian Reid from Uni Adelaide & Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) have secured an ARC (Australian Research Council) Discovery project on the topic Learning Robotic Navigation and Interaction from Object-based Semantic Maps. This project is set to begin in April 2022. 

 Summary from the grant: 

Our project aims to develop new learning algorithms that enable robots to perform high-complexity tasks that are currently impossible. Compared to existing methods that rely on low-level sensor data, we aim to achieve this by learning from a high-level graph representation of the environment that captures semantics, affordances, and geometry. The outcome would be robots capable of using human instructions to efficiently learn complex interaction and navigation behaviours that transfer to unseen environments. Our research should benefit new applications in domains of economic and societal importance that are currently too complex, unsafe, and uncertain for robot assistants, such as aged care, advanced manufacturing and domestic robotics. 


  • Space Resources Environmental Analogue Facility, Led by UNSW (ACSER) 

  • QUT CIs: Thierry Peynot, Michael Milford & Peter Corke 

  • $2.1M from ARC, including (at least) $1.2M to QUT 

  • QUT: Large, ‘outdoor’ covered moon yard (lunar testbed) 

  • UNSW: ‘dirty’ thermal vacuum chamber + indoor moon yard (temperature and pressure regulated) 

Read more below: 

> Space facilities ‘go for launch’ with new ARC funding 

> Space, solar and autonomous transport facilities among Linkage grant success 



QUT researchers received $797,827 to work with BHP Group Operations on a three-year project to improve lab imaging and analyses of zircon chemical features to find more mineable copper. The project team includes Professor Charlotte Allen, Professor Balz Kamber, CI Michael Milford, Dr Henrietta Cathey, AI Clinton Fookes, Dr Rebecca Perkins, and Mr Simon Gatehouse. 

> Read more about QUT’s Linkage success here 


QUT Centre for Robotics researchers are working on a new fundamental research project with automaker Ford Motor Company to develop improved localisation and perceptions techniques for autonomous vehicles.  

The project will look at how cameras and LIDAR sensors, commonly used in autonomous vehicles, can better understand the world around them. CI Michael Milford will lead the two-year, US$200,000 (AU$271,000) project and its research team, which includes QUT Research Fellows Sourav Garg, Stephen Hausler and PhD candidate Ming Xu. 

> Read more here 

Our Engagement

Recent Talks and Workshops



CI Peter Corke attended the SmartSat CRC Moon to Mars Feasibility Showcase hosted at Cicada Innovations at Australia Technology Park, Sydney on Tuesday 12 April.

He presented on the topic “Remote Operations for Internal Logistics Handling” on the Space Robotics panel. 



Last week CI Niko Suenderhauf attended a fantastic workshop with academic and industry partners for the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub in Robotic Inspection and Asset Management. The event was a success for all involved.


New Memberships


Congratulations to our CI Felipe Gonzalez on being appointed to the Civil Aviation Services Authority Board. This is a highly esteemed position and speaks to Felipe’s expertise in this area. 

> Read more 



Congratulations to our CI Christina Kazantzidou, who has been elevated to the grade of Senior Member of IEEE. Senior Member is the highest professional grade of IEEE for which a member may apply. It requires extensive experience and reflects professional accomplishment and maturity. Only 10% of IEEE’s more than 400,000 members have achieved this level. 

In the News


QUT robotics researchers have a new robotic best friend that is helping with a range of research projects including studying how people and robots can better interact.

Check out the 7News story featuring QUT Centre for Robotics researchers Marisa Bucolo and Juan Sandino with the Boston Dynamics Spot mini robot here.



Space exploration with Australia’s own rover exploring the Moon may not be as farfetched as it seems! 

QUT Communications and Media recently interviewed our CI Thierry Peynot on his on his exciting research which is “inspired by NASA and its use of robotics for space and planetary exploration”.  

Read more about his out-of-this-world research here  

CI Peynot was also featured on the Space Connect Podcast. See here.

Engage with our students

UniHub is a free online portal where you can advertise opportunities to QUT students including job vacancies, internships, events, volunteering roles, competitions and more. 

If you would like to advertise a job to students, please see here and register to access the online system. 

Centre News & Achievements

Member Achievements

AI Feras Dayoub, University of Adelaide has now been appointed as an Adjunct Senior Lecturer and Assoicate Investigator with QCR. We look forward to continuing our solid working relationship with Feras. 


Congratulations to PhD student MD Mostafizur Rahman Komol who was selected as an ITS Australia Young Professional last month.  

> Read more here 




The QUT Centre for Robotics has just launched a LinkedIn page – please check it out and follow it here!  

We will be posting exciting news about our research, new projects – both fundamental research and applied with industry, real world impact stories, job and student opportunities at the centre, events like talks, workshops, and industry nights and much more from our amazing centre members! 



Since the successful launch of their autonomous race car in 2021, the Driverless team at QUT Motorsport has been rapidly improving the platform with new hardware and software. Creating an autonomous race car requires extra mechanical systems that are retrofitted onto QUT Motorsport’s existing QEV-3 electric platform, such as a steering actuator and external braking system. The team successfully tested their autonomous steering capability on-track at the end of 2021 and is nearing completion of the braking system, which is the final mechanical system required for full autonomy.  

Building an autonomous system also requires numerous software projects to be undertaken, with students developing ROS-based systems to solve problems such as model predictive control, landmark based SLAM and sensor-fusion for velocity estimation. 

At the end of last year, the team demonstrated the prototype to its faculty supporters (pictured below) and more recently represented the QUT Engineering Faculty at the BMW Group + QUT Design Academy M8 Competition Coupe Unveiling with a display of the autonomous vehicle (also below). 

QUT Motorsport is excited with the progress they are making in the autonomous racing space and expect to have a fully-autonomous prototype racing in the coming months. 



The Australian Cobotics Centre’s monthly seminar series kicked off for 2022 with a talk on ‘Participatory and Co-design in Manufacturing’. Presented by the Centre’s Human Robot Interaction program leads, A/Prof Markus Rittenbruch and A/Prof Jared Donovan, they provided an overview of the history of participatory design and also drew upon their own experiences with design-oriented perspectives on robotics and give practical examples of how to engage various stakeholders in the design process. You can watch the recording via our website

 The next seminar will be held on 28th April and is in recognition of World Day of Health and Safety at Work. Dr Matthias Guertler of UTS and one of the Centre’s co-leads for the Designing Socio-Technical Robotic Solutions program will incorporate the findings from his research collaboration with SafeWork (NSW Government) that aimed to create design principles and guidelines for work health and safety in a shared environment, where humans and autonomous collaborative robots work side by side.  

 Sign up to the mailing list to receive our newsletter, Cobotics Quarterly and to be the first to hear about our events. 



Action Plan to Supercharge Research Commercialisation

by Deon de Saldanha, Director, Industry Engagement (Science and Engineering) 

In February, the federal government unveiled its reform agenda to increase research commercialisation in Australia in the form of its “University Research Commercialisation Action Plan”. 

An extract of the minister’s foreword in this document reads: 

 “In a rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy, Australia’s future prosperity lies in leveraging the excellence of our research sector. Australia has world-class universities, and our researchers produce pioneering foundational research. Millions of people around the world rely on technologies and products that were made possible by Australian research breakthroughs. Too often, however, this research is not taken further down the pipeline towards production here in Australia and too often Australian universities and businesses are missing out on opportunities to commercialise Australian research in ways that benefit our economy and our society.” 

Proposed reforms will focus research effort on Australia’s six National Manufacturing Priorities:  Defence, Space, Food & Beverage, Resource Technology & Critical Minerals, Medical Products and Recycling & Clean Energy.   Robotics increasingly plays a key role in advancing these industries. 

One area of particular interest is the intention to establish a foundation of people skilled in university–industry collaboration.  In this regard, government intends to establish new research fellowship and industry PhD schemes for over 800 industry fellows and 1,800 industry PhDs, over a ten-year period. This is anticipated to encourage both mobility and collaboration between university researchers and industry, as well as build Australia’s capacity for, and understanding of, research translation.  $296m has been earmarked for these schemes. 

This presents an exciting new opportunity for industry partners to access subsidised, industry focussed, research expertise. Finer details about these schemes, including the selection process and level of funding, are expected to be announced June/July 2022. 

Figure 26: Career pathways available under new industry PhD and fellowship initiatives  

Source:  University Research Commercialisation Action Plan, Feb 2022, Page79: Australian Government, Department of Education, Skills, and Employment.  For more information, the minister’s announcement can be found here. 

Feature Story


Women in Robotics with Kiran Deshmukh

Kiran  has started a Masters of Philosophy with pathway to PhD with CI Peter Corke and CI Matt Dunbabin. Her thesis topic is Very high-speed dynamic motion planning for manipulator arm robots for logistics tasks. 

Kiran recently talked to us about how she uses robotics in her research, her favourite thing about working in robotics and her advice to other women looking to work in or study robotics. 

Read the full story here 

External Events & Seminars

 Robotic Seminar Series

On the 8th of February A/Prof Harold Soh from National University of Singapore gave a talk on Trust and Touch for Human-Robot Interaction.  

View the presentation through YouTube. 


Agtech Industry Event  

QCR ran a successful online event with special guest speakers from Connected Farms, Stacked Farm and Agtech and Logistics Hub on the 8th of March. The topic of the event was Putting Farmers First – The Next Revolution of Robotics in Agriculture. The event was well attended by academics, industry and professionals working in this space. We will be sharing the video link for this event on our YouTube channel shortly. 

We have several more Industry focussed events coming up this year. To learn more please connect with us via LinkedIn. 

Peter Corke Documentary Screening 

On the 13th of April, the QUT Centre for Robotics held a casual screening of a film about CI Peter Corke filmed by Perfekt Studios

The film showcases an autobiographical documentary of the life and work of Distinguished Professor Peter Corke. Undoubtedly one of the key figures in the development of robotics in Australia who has led the way both nationally and internationally in this field. We hear not only about Peter’s career but also from other pioneers who have worked alongside Peter for decades and have made remarkable progress from basic research to viable robots out serving the community. It is a celebration of Australian robotic vision and its visionaries. Running length is 1 hour 25 min.  View it here.


Jan to March 2022



Hausler, Stephen D (2021) Appearance and viewpoint invariant visual place recognition using multi-scale and multi-modality systems. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology. 
Appearance and viewpoint invariant visual place recognition using multi-scale and multi-modality systems | QUT ePrints 


A RoboStack Tutorial Using the Robot Operating System Alongside the Conda and Jupyter Data Science Ecosystems        
Tobias Fischer, Wolf Vollprecht, Silvio Traversaro, Sean Yen, Carlos Herrero and Michael Milford     
A-RoboStack-Tutorial-Using-the-Robot-Operating-System-Alongside-the-Conda-and-Jupyter-Data-Science-Ecosystems.pdf (  
Design and Flight Testing of a Rocket-Launched Folding UAV for Earth and Planetary Exploration Applications  
A Holistic Approach to Reactive Mobile Manipulation  
Haviland J, Sunderhauf N, Corke P  
2022 IEE Robotics and Automation Letters 
Scopus - Document details - A Holistic Approach to Reactive Mobile Manipulation  
Slippage Estimation for Skid-Steering Robots in Outdoor Environments using Deep Learning  
Nourizadeh P, Stevens McFadden F, Browne W  
2021 Australasian Conference Robotics and Automation, ACRA, 2021-December 
Scopus - Document details - Slippage Estimation for Skid-Steering Robots in Outdoor Environments using Deep Learning  
Implementation of a Vertical Hydroponic Farming End Effector for Harvesting  
Barthelme Q, Lehnert C      
2021  Australasian Conference Robotics and Automation, ACRA, 2021-December 
Scopus - Document details - Implementation of a Vertical Hydroponic Farming End Effector for Harvesting  
Fast and Robust Bio-inspired Teach and Repeat Navigation  
Dall'osto D, Fischer T, Milford M     
 2021 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots Systems, pp.500-507 
Scopus - Document details - Fast and Robust Bio-inspired Teach and Repeat Navigation  
Robust Re-identification of Manta Rays from Natural Markings by Learning Pose Invariant Embeddings  
Moskvyak O, Maire F, Dayoub F, Armstrong A O, Baktashmotlagh M     
DICTA 2021 - 2021 International Conference on Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications 
Scopus - Document details - Robust Re-identification of Manta Rays from Natural Markings by Learning Pose Invariant Embeddings  
FSNet: A Failure Detection Framework for Semantic Segmentation  
Rahman Q M, Sunderhauf N, Corke P, Dayoub F     
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