The CyPhy lab project in agricultural robotics received a huge boost in the Queensland State government budget with $3 million to develop new robots for broad-acre farming as well as fruit and veg harvesting. To quote the budget papers:
"The Government will provide additional funding of $3 million over three years from 2013-14 to undertake research in a project with the Queensland University of Technology to develop and fast-track Farm Robotics technology that will re-invigorate productivity growth through increased production and reduced farm input costs. This will continue to support Queensland's world-class research and development capabilities in robotics and its innovative dynamic farm sector."

Here's aYouTube video about the project.

Premier Newman visited the Gardens Point campus today and received a first-hand demonstration of the AgBot in action, being driven autonomously with Andrew English at the wheel to supervise. Lots of smiles, laughs and discussion all-round!

CyPhy at ICRA

Everyone is winding their way back home after the lab had a very successful week at the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Research performed by lab members from Professor to undergraduate level was presented in more than 10 presentations and multiple workshops. The photo collage above (click for a larger version) shows the activities of the week, including the spectacular quad-rotor and fireworks display.

Four RSS Papers Submitted

The CyPhy lab has worked very hard the last few weeks to prepare four papers for the RSS2013 conference. Good luck everyone!

New large robot platform

We successfully ran the first tests of our new autonomous utility vehicle.

Summer school in Santiago

Last week I was fortunate to be invited to present some lectures at the IEEE RAS summer school on Robot Vision and Applications.  Left to right: Radu Rusu, myself, Andy Davison and Omar Daud (postdoc) at Omar's favourite restaurant.

Husky Robot

The lab just received a new Husky all-terrain robot which will be used for a range of outdoor experimentation.

I gave a talk last week in the Innovation series and tried to bring together some ideas about robots and big picture problems such as population, dependency ratio and climate change.  Here is the video and a PDF of the presentation.

8 ACRA Papers Accepted!

The CyPhy laboratory had 8 papers accepted to the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation (ACRA), to be held in Wellington, New Zealand (we ended up submitting 11, not 10). Several of the student papers got best student paper nominations - well done everyone.

20 ICRA Papers Submitted

Following on from our record ACRA submissions, the lab has submitted 20 papers to ICRA! Congratulations to everyone on a fantastic effort!

The process of course took a (temporary) toll on our sleep patterns and eating habits, as attested to by the photos below:

10 ACRA Papers Submitted

The entire lab has been busy working on Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation (ACRA) papers and ended up submitting eight nine ten papers.

Now on to ICRA!

Ben Kuipers, developer of the Spatial Semantic Hierarchy, visited on July 30th and gave a presentation on "Constructing the Foundations of Commonsense Knowledge". Afterwards many interesting discussions were had with members of the CyPhy and ARCAA labs.

A few of us went to have a look at the centre as part of a process of deciding whether we move there or not.  Some pictures and captions are here.

Members of the CyPhy lab have spent the last two weeks at Robotics Science and Systems 2012 in Sydney, and the international conference on Field and Service Robotics in Matsushima, Japan. In all, the lab gave 9 oral presentations and 3 poster presentations, including three invited talks at RSS2012 and AIST in Tsukuba, Japan. A couple of collages from the two conferences are below:

Michael's talk at RSS

Michael Milford at RSS (Sydney) giving an award candidate talk about the need for fewer pixels in place recognition.