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Media Release

Leading Australian corporate-academic partnership shapes next generation of social robotics innovation

Academic partnership shapes next generation of social robotics

Commonwealth Bank, Stockland, Australian Technology Network of Universities and University of Technology Sydney partner to invest in research & development of social robotics.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Stockland, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) are pioneering technology innovation and research into artificial intelligence through a leading corporate-academic partnership in social robotics.

This partnership will contribute to the growing field of global research in social robotics by identifying opportunities and limitations in human-robot interaction and exploring commercial applications of social robotics across a number of industries.

Commonwealth Bank’s Sydney Innovation Lab will be used as a testing environment for students and academics of Australia’s leading technology universities to conduct research and development using Chip, a humanoid robot owned by the bank and the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Group Executive Institutional Banking & Markets at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said, “The development of robotics and artificial intelligence will affect all of us in the future. We have invested in Chip and this academic partnership to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of knowledge and thought leadership when it comes to disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and social robotics.  This research will help us better understand the impact social robotics will have on the lives of people, customers and industries across Australia.”

Commonwealth Bank has established a social robotics team within its Sydney Innovation Lab to better connect clients and industry with Australia’s leading academics in the space.

Mark Steinert, Managing Director and CEO, Stockland said, “We joined this social robotics partnership to explore how emerging technologies may play a positive role in our business and the broader community in the future. We’re interested in how robotics could be used in our business parks and logistics centres, shopping centres and our residential and retirement living communities. For Stockland this partnership is about defining the future rather than waiting for it to happen to us.”

Mary-Anne Williams, Professor and Director of the Innovation and Enterprise Research Laboratory (The Magic Lab) at UTS, said, “This project is a watershed moment for robotics research in Australia and globally. We’re excited to see companies like Stockland and Commonwealth Bank investing in social robotics and opening doors to universities, research institutes and the next generation of robotics students. While there are research challenges and risks associated with the broader field of robotics, there are also extraordinary benefits for companies seeking to establish and maintain a leadership position in the disruptive field of social robotics.”

Renee Hindmarsh, Executive Director at ATN said, “Through the partnership, we hope the program will continue to provide opportunities for our students to develop further research and development discoveries that will be vital in shaping the next generation of social robotics innovation.”

The UTS Magic Labs and ATN students working on the project draw from academic backgrounds including robotics and artificial intelligence, data analytics, IT and engineering, business and law; and have worked on high-profile projects with organisations like NASA and IBM, winning multiple awards in Australia and overseas.