Australia’s vibrant robotics sector has welcomed a diverse array of players, embracing exciting advancements in drone technology. In a recent survey conducted by Robotics Australia Group and HowToRobot.com, 466 companies operating in the field of robotics and automation emerged across the country. While the majority of these businesses offer services related to robotics, a striking 19 percent have asserted themselves as manufacturers of robots, including the production of drones.
Unlike other regions, Australia was slow to cultivate its own robotic manufacturing capabilities. In the past, the utilization of robots mainly revolved around vehicle manufacturing, with limited applications in other domains. The absence of a robust local market hindered the growth of indigenous robotic manufacturers in Australia. However, the tide has turned in recent years, propelled by the increasing demand for drones that find utility in activities such as infrastructure inspection, agricultural practices, and national defense.
Mining and mineral processing, as well as underwater inspection and maintenance, are areas where Australian expertise in the field of robotics has garnered international recognition. The mining industry, in particular, has embraced field robotics with companies like Rio Tinto leading the way in the remote operation of autonomous equipment, including explosives loaders, trucks, trains, and ore loaders. While Australia possesses valuable know-how in these systems, the majority of capital equipment used in production still comes from prominent overseas manufacturers such as Caterpillar.
The report, titled “2023 Market Overview of Robot and Automation Companies in Australia,” discovered that robotics suppliers cater to various industries beyond the robotics sector itself. Metal and machinery (47 percent), logistics (42 percent), and food and beverage (30 percent) are among the top industries served by these suppliers. Moreover, there is an impressive concentration of robotics suppliers in non-manufacturing sectors in Australia, including mining (29 percent), energy (24 percent), construction (20 percent), agriculture and forestry (19 percent), and recycling (17 percent).
Chair of Robotics Australia Group, Dr. Sue Keay, emphasized Australia’s exceptional expertise in field robotics, which thrives in challenging and unstructured environments. Examples of such applications range from swarms of agricultural robots to underwater inspection devices, and mobile robots deployed in hard-to-access outdoor areas.
Commonly, Australian robotics companies focus on automating tasks that span across diverse industries. These tasks include item handling and picking (covered by 51 percent of suppliers), inspection and quality control (37 percent), logistics and storage functions (33 percent), and packing and palletizing (28 percent).
As the global demand for robotics and automation continues to grow, Australia’s robotics industry is rapidly evolving, offering unique potential for capitalizing on this expanding market. With its extensive geographical terrain and relatively low population density, the country is well-positioned to leverage its field robotics expertise in the years to come.
Robotics Business Review
1. How many robot and automation suppliers were identified in the survey?
The survey identified 466 robot and automation suppliers across Australia.
2. What percentage of the identified suppliers were manufacturers of robots, including drones?
Nineteen percent of the identified suppliers were manufacturers of robots, including drones.
3. What are the top industries served by robotics suppliers in Australia?
The top industries served by robotics suppliers, aside from the robotics industry itself, are metal & machinery (47 percent), logistics (42 percent), and food & beverage (30 percent).
4. What are some unique use areas for robotics in Australia?
Australia has unique use areas for robotics in mining and mineral processing, underwater inspection and maintenance, as well as fields related to agriculture, forestry, energy, construction, and recycling.
5. How are Australian robotics companies contributing to various industries?
Australian robotics companies are focused on automating tasks across industries, such as item handling and picking, inspection and quality control, logistics and storage functions, and packing and palletizing.