Rob Sutton, Managing Director
Mirragin’s contribution to the National Robotics Strategy
The Australian Government is developing the National Robotics Strategy to promote the responsible production and adoption of robotics. As a small nation with a large landmass, robotics and autonomous systems are essential to address some of our largest challenges, such as defending our nation, fighting bushfires and maintaining our way of life in a sustainable way.
The strategy was released for consultation on the 5th of April, and consultations closed on the 7th of May. As robotics are near and dear to our (very human) hearts, the Mirragin team were pleased to contribute to the development of this strategy. We had both a 1:1 interview with the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, and we participated in the group workshops (thank you, Nicola Kloet)!
We applaud the development of this strategy, and would like to recognise both Sue Keay and Minister Ed Husic MP or their strong advocacy for getting this strategy developed. Robotics are an area that Australian industry can excel in (just look at the number of organisations in the Australian Drone Ecosystem Directory). The uptake of robotics across key industries such as agriculture, mining and construction will be hugely important not just for improving efficiency, but also, critically, for making sure that all employees go home to their families at the end of each day.
We feel that there is an important element missing from the strategy, and that is the connection to Defence. The Defence Strategic Review was recently released. Among other things, the Defence Strategic Review spoke of the changed strategic environment and the need to accelerate the acquisition of equipment. It changed the role of the ADF to a greater focus on anti-access area denial (A2AD), and spoke of the need to create a domestic munition capability. As a strategic document, it did not delve into the detail of how the A2AD strategy would be implemented, but it is clear that Australia cannot effectively execute an A2AD strategy without extensive use of robotics and autonomous systems. In the event of a major war, our supply chains are likely to be broken, and we have to have a domestic manufacturing capability to replace the missiles and drones that we consume in battle. Unfortunately, the DSR does not address the development of a sovereign robotics ecosystem. The national robotics strategy speaks to the need to create a robotics ecosystem in Australia, and funding and support from Defence would be hugely important for Australian industry.
A national robotics strategy, coupled with support and funding from Defence, would be an absolute game changer.
Written by Rob Sutton, Managing Director – Mirragin