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What's Inside

Directors Message

Centre News 

Member Achievements

Feature Story

Events - Past and Coming Up

New Faces

Behind the Scenes

Member Publications

Feature Story

Directors Message

The end of year is well upon us and it is jam packed with events, celebration of achievements of the many members of the centre, and lots more. This issue has heaps of news about prestigious national awards, election to esteemed fellowships of major professional societies, and the many events our centre has been running or co-organizing, with topics spanning space to drones to ethics, as well as internal development workshops and events. And of course a regular stream of high quality fundamental research and publications, PhD graduations and new faces as well. 

Beyond research and helping run the centre, I’ve been focusing particularly on two important issues over the past months. The first has simply been to be “in the room” with key stakeholders and decision makers both internationally and around Australia – involving an exhausting but very productive travel itinerary that I’m looking forward to having a break from over the 2022 / 2023 holiday! 

All this travel is related to the second area of focus – strategic positioning of robotics (and related fields such as artificial intelligence and autonomy) in the Australian landscape. Recently the Australian Research Council announced the outcomes from the Centre of Excellence scheme, its premier large scale fundamental research investment scheme, with centres typically landing around $35M of funding plus additional contributions from universities, industry and government, over a period of 7 years. Much of QUT’s Centre for Robotics has built on the foundation established the Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision that ran from 2014-2020, led by my joint director Peter with the involvement of many leading researchers from around Australia. In this round (run only once every three years), a number of centres were funded in critical priority areas including social, indigenous and the always-represented physics research fields.  

The lack of computer science-focused large initiatives in this round is perhaps more evidence that robotics and AI are at a cross-roads in terms of the strategic vision of how they will develop and what role Australia will play in developing them. An extreme school of thought would say that we don’t need to develop much here – instead we could just buy what we need from large tech companies – but there are many shortcomings of this, including not maintaining the talent expertise here to make sensible and informed decisions about the tech. Furthermore, this is not a great economic strategy, and leaves us with fewer options for “trade” of knowledge with our overseas partners, and vulnerable to being overly reliant on overseas suppliers – the whole “sovereign capability” concern. Finally, it fails to capitalize on the world class competitive edge we’ve genuinely developed in specific areas – field robotics being one, and other areas like computer vision from colleagues around Australia like Adelaide’s Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML) and many more. So we are working hard to come up with a coherent and compelling vision of the future of robotics in Australia, and how we can play a role on the global stage. 

All the best for the end of year countdown, 


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Centre News

PhD Award


Congratulations to Shahnewaz Ali for his PhD award! 

Ali’s thesis is titled  Robotic vision for knee arthroscopy and was co-supervised  by Ajay,  Jon, Davide and Ross. 



Felipe Gonzalez has been recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS)  

The Fellowship (FRAeS) is the highest grade attainable and is only bestowed upon those in the profession of aeronautics or aerospace. 



Congratulations to QUT's Design Robotics team who won the Industry Engagement category in the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards! This is a fantastic achievement! 


New Masters Course

This new degree can set you up for a wide range of careers in leading and implementing automation and AI technology across all sectors, including: manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, defence, space and mining.





We at the QUT Centre for Robotics are stoked to be a finalist in the ITS Australia Awards in the Excellence in Research and Development Category. 

This recognizes our collective R&D with so many partners and collaborators in the broad autonomous vehicle and related technology space, across application domains spanning on-road to agriculture to defence and more. 

Our finalist citation is: 

"The QUT Centre for Robotics is leading a range of local, federal and international projects developing new technologies for autonomous vehicles with multiple Fortune 500 companies, government and startups.  

This technology has a wide range of application areas spanning on-road autonomous vehicles to mine sites to farms to all-terrain transport." 

Member Achievements

Embodied AI Retrospectives Paper


Retrospectives paper on past Embodied AI workshops to date available on arxiv 

Collaboration between all workshop and challenge organizers from 2022 (39 authors total) 

Summary of past embodied AI challenges and current approaches used to solve them, and offers opinion on future directions of embodied AI challenges/research. 

David Hall, Ben Talbot, and Niko Sünderhauf contributing 


Paper Accepted

Control Systems Letters (L-CSS) Paper accepted 

Congratulations Cole who has now published an ANZCC and CSS paper during his Masters Thesis – great accomplishment! 



Can we talk about Tokenism?  Tokenism is "the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly”



Feature Story

Prestigeous Award

Congratulations to Aaron for winning the 2022 ATSE Batterham Medal! Aaron was presented with this prestigious award in Sydney at the ATSE Gala dinner, with much of the QUT executive present in the room including our Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering Executive Dean and more. 


Coming Up

End of Year QCR Retreat Update 

Tuesday 13 Dec, Gibson room, 9am-5pm 

Agenda currently still being finalised but will include the following:

●Keynote (in progress) 

●Speed networking session 

●Panel discussion on Dall.e art (Dr Kylie Pappalardo (Law), A.Prof Jared Donovan - both confirmed - more to come)

●Talks from industry on what they need from robotics (AgTech Logistics Hub, Voltin and Swoop Aero)

●Technical talks from Das (Behaviour trees) and Dimity (Transformers

●Work-life balance and dealing with people presentation with more role play (Michael) 

●The year that was 

●Award ceremony 

Following the retreat there will be a networking event at Little Big House (South Bank) from 5.30pm 

●Karaoke rooms booked from 6-8pm  

●Bar tab and yummy canapes 

●People’s choice award for most enthusiastic karaoke singer! 

Dietary requirements to Ilana by COB 1 Dec.

Please RSVP via the calendar invite or email Ilana.

Please send Ilana pics/videos from events during the year!

Past Events

QUT Connections 14 November  

Well done Gavin and Dasun on the demo of the IVR Logistic Robot concept at the Gardens Theatre yesterday 

And also to our QCR ambassadors Justin and Somayeh for demoing Spot (and helping) 

Past Events

QCR Philosophy Night  

Thanks Connor, Scarlett, Jordan, David, Ilana, Fernando and Sourav for organising this! 

Past Events

HDR Picnic Lunch

The HDR’s used the free Lady Harriet’s lunch they won at the mid-year retreat and ended up having a picnic in the Botanic Gardens where they played Finska, Frisbee, Jungle Speed and chilled out for a couple of hours. 

Thanks to the Exec for catering the lunch! 

Past Events

Resume Workshop

Jacquie Liversidge, Managing Director of The Resume Writers held a workshop on Wednesday 23 November for resume writing for government, industry and university roles 

External Past Events

RAS Gateway Launch 9 November  


Aerial Transport – The Future for Qld event Wednesday 16 November


Space Industry event Monday 21 November


Thanks to everyone who helped out at these events over the last few weeks!  

Special mention - Das and Riki for the IVR demo set up and to our ambassadors Nicolas, Jordan, Thomas and Somayeh 


New Faces

Welcome to Anthony Chiaratti 

Anthony is a HDR student working with Aaron.

Anthony’s research: 

Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) have the potential to expand aerial services in numerous areas, including emergencies, surveillance, last mile delivery and even personal transportation. This new expansion in air traffic will demand reliable safe drone traffic management and integration/interoperability with current air traffic. 

Behind the Scenes

… with Serena Mou

What do you do in the Centre and what are you currently working on? 

I work in the marine robotics space and I'm currently working on coral reef restoration with reconfigurable, surface robots.  

What’s on your desk? 

Lots of paper with to-do lists, plants (in dire need to TLC) and photos of my dog.  

How would you describe your work to a child? 

I make floating robots that plant baby corals all over the world.  

Three words to describe your work? 

Fulfilling, fun and hands-on 

What’s your dream travel destination? 

Currently Lisbon, Portugal 

Please finish these sentences: 

I’m currently reading 

Papers on genomics 

And currently wishing 

I was taking a nap 

My last meal would be 

Spicy noodles with lots of veg.  

Final question!  Tea, coffee or no caffeine? 

Coffee in the morning and then caffeine-free tea for the rest of the day. 

Member Publications

ParticleNeRF: Particle Based Encoding for Online Neural Radiance Fields in Dynamic Scenes 

J Abou-Chakra, F Dayoub, N Sünderhauf - arXiv preprint arXiv:2211.04041, 2022 


Driver stress levels detection system using hyperparameter optimisation 

MN Rastgoo, B Nakisa, A Rakotonirainy, F Maire… - Journal of Intelligent …, 2022 


How Many Events Do You Need? Event-Based Visual Place Recognition Using Sparse But Varying Pixels 

T Fischer, M Milford – IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 


Ophthalmic Imaging Apparatus and System 

A Jaiprakash, D Palmer, DG Dansereau, T Coppin, K Rana, J Roberts, R Crawford -  US Patent App. 17/742,331, 2022 


Detection of Parthenium Weed (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) and it’s Growth Stages Using Artificial Intelligence 

B Constello, OO Osunkoya, J Sandino, W Marinic, P Trotter, B Shi, F Gonzalez, K Dhileepan 

Detection of Parthenium Weed (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) and Its Growth Stages Using Artificial Intelligence 


Learning Fabric Manipulation in the Real World with Human Videos 

R Lee, J Abou-Chakra, F Zhang, P Corke - arXiv preprint arXiv:2211.02832, 2022 


NanoMap: A GPU-Accelerated OpenVDB-Based Mapping and Simulation Package for Robotic Agents 

V Walker, F Vanegas, F Gonzalez 


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