ARIAM Research Hub Officially Launches

On 2 November 2023, The University of Sydney officially launched the Australian Robotic Inspection and Asset Management Hub (ARIAM) which researchers say will transform the way important assets are handled.
ARIAM ribbon cutting. [Credit: University of Sydney/Stefanie Zingsheim]
ARIAM ribbon cutting. [Credit: University of Sydney/Stefanie Zingsheim]

ARIAM’s work will reduce the need for people to enter dangerous or hazardous locations to maintain assets such as tunnels and underwater infrastructure. It will also help manage the looming ‘infrastructure cliff’, which will see many post-World War II infrastructure assets approach their end of life.

Its work will lead to accurate and timely data collection, enhance safety, minimise disruption during maintenance and improve the efficiency of industry.

Researchers at ARIAM are led by Professor Ian Manchester, from the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, who also directs the Australian Centre for Robotics. The team plans to develop semi-autonomous and autonomous machines capable of inspecting and maintaining complex structures in challenging environments, removing the need for people to enter dangerous or hazardous locations.

Ian Manchester, Emma Johnston. Credit University of Sydney and Stefanie Zingsheim
Professor Ian Manchester, left,  Professor Emma Johnston, right. [Credit: University of Sydney/Stefanie Zingsheim]

“This initiative marks a significant leap forward for robotics and will change the way industry operates,” Professor Manchester said.

“With new designs we can eliminate the risk of injury associated with manned operations to inspect remote or dangerous areas, such as tunnels or underwater infrastructure, and enter previously inaccessible areas.”

Professor Stefan Williams from the Australian Centre for Robotics and School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, said: “Australia faces a critical situation, with many of its post-World War II infrastructure assets rapidly approaching the end of their 50 to 80-year lifespan.

“This ‘infrastructure cliff’ presents a mounting maintenance backlog and the nation’s productivity and global competitiveness depend on efficient infrastructure networks.

“Our work has applications in public sector infrastructure, including roads and utility networks, but also in renewable energy, space, mining, and land care.”

The hub’s researchers said ARIAM will work with industry partners to develop robotic systems with unprecedented capabilities. Systems including aerial, marine and legged robots will demonstrate those skills in field trails.

“We will collaborate with Australian industry to tackle critical challenges within the robotics sector, ultimately paving the way for the development, manufacturing, and successful exportation of Australian robotics and autonomous technology to a growing global market,” Professor Stefan Williams said.

ARIAM’s mission is to equip robots to autonomously collect data, creating a real-time representation of physical assets through ‘digital twins’: virtual models created with data collected by the robots. With the right sensors, robots can capture various aspects of a physical asset, such as its structural integrity, temperature, movement and other relevant symptoms. This data is integrated into the digital twin in real-time.

ARIAM’s projects have garnered interest from 15 industry partners including Thales, Reach Robotics, Abyss Solutions, and Nearmap. In one example, Nexxis is developing a spider-like robot with magnetic feet, capable of crawling around metal structures and inspecting them for damage.

“This partnership enables the next evolution of naval sustainment. With ARIAM Hub we will be able to capture decades of knowledge and create an efficient and agile environment through automation and modelling,” said Andrew Seale, Sales Director at Thales Above Water Systems.

ARIAM is an ARC Research Hub hosted by the University of Sydney in partnership with Queensland University of Technology and The Australian National University.

The hub will leverage interdisciplinary research and foster collaboration between academics and industry, advancing robotics, sensing, planning, data processing and machine learning technologies.

ARIAM launch event: The official launch of ARIAM, formally known as the ARC Research Hub in Intelligent Robotic Systems for Real-Time Asset Management, took place at the University of Sydney, on November 2 at 12pm, at the Australian Centre for Robotics in Chippendale.

Industry leaders, academics and government representatives converged for the event which included keynote speeches, industry panels and live demonstrations of cutting-edge robotic technologies.

Apply for the 2024 ATSE Elevate Program: Boosting Women in STEM

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering’s Elevate: Boosting Women in STEM program will award up to 500 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to women in STEM. The Elevate Program aims to address gender inequities in STEM through fostering more women-led industry-academia collaborations in applied research and business, growing professional skills of women in STEM and propelling women into leadership. 

The Elevate program provides:  

  • A scholarship 
  • Access to events and networking 
  • Mentoring 
  • Ongoing support during scholars’ university studies 

Applications for the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering’s Elevate: Boosting Women in STEM Program commencing in 2024 opened on 1 October 2022.  

Applications for the 2024 Elevate program close at 5:00pm (AEST) 31 August 2023.  

The Elevate program guidelines outline the Elevate program and scholarship opportunity, the eligibility requirements and selection criteria, the process of and time for application consideration and the expectations of scholars engaging in the program.  

Read the Elevate program guidelines 

Apply for the 2024 Elevate Program 

Applications can be completed online through the ATSE Elevate program portal. The portal is hosted by GoodGrants. The GoodGrants Ultimate Guide for Applicants may assist you in registering and completing your application. We encourage applicants to start the application process early, as applications can be saved as you progress through the portal. 

Alternative modes of submission 

ATSE is committed to providing inclusive and equitable access to all potential applicants. If for any reason you are unable to submit written responses to the questions in this application form, ATSE will also accept alternative modes of submission. Applicants may prefer to create a video, either of themselves or from images or drawings that they compile. Applicants may also submit applications verbally via an interview with a member of the Elevate team. Applicants must still convey responses to questions as per the application form, as assessors are still required to score applications against a set of three key selection criteria. 

To discuss your options for alternative modes of submission, please contact ATSE at or call 02 6185 3240. 


Applicants are required to meet three eligibility criteria:  

  • Identify as a woman or non-binary person 
  • Be enrolling as a domestic student 
  • Be planning to undertake a STEM degree or higher studies to improve business acumen at an Australian university, commencing in 2024 

ATSE particularly encourages applications from individuals who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; individuals from regional, rural or remote areas; LGBTQIA+; individuals from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds; low-socioeconomic backgrounds; or those living with a disability. Diversity, inclusion, and achievement relative to opportunity will be considered in the assessment and selection process. 

Applications for the Elevate program commencing in 2025 will reopen in early 2024. The date and time will be available on the ATSE website. You can also sign up to the mailing list to be notified when applications reopen. 

ARIAM Hub is hiring!

Attention Researchers and Future Researchers! 

Are you passionate about making a difference through research? Do you have a track record of excellence in your field and want to work on cutting-edge robotics projects with a dynamic team? ARIAM Research Hub is growing and we are currently seeking highly motivated researchers and PhD candidates to join our team! We are offering 1 Postdoctoral Researcher position and 10 PhD Scholarships across our 3 partner institutions (USyd, QUT and ANU) and working closely with experts from the robotics industry. 

Be supported by a team of world-class academics and industry experts as you pursue a career in a field that has endless potential. 

As a member of ARIAM, you will have the opportunity to work on challenging and impactful research projects that contribute to the advancement of knowledge in robotics and adjacent areas. You will work collaboratively with a team of experts from diverse backgrounds, allowing you to learn and grow both personally and professionally. 

We are looking for candidates with a broad range of backgrounds, including but not limited to: Mechatronics, Computer Science, Machine Learning, Computer Vision or similar. Successful candidates will have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in their respective fields and have a strong publication record. 

If you are interested in joining our team and contributing to world-class research, head to our Opportunities page. More positions to come so watch this space. We look forward to hearing from you! 

ARIAM Hub Featured on Nine News Australia

We are thrilled to have been featured on Nine News Sydney for our research in the dynamic field of robotics aimed at managing critical infrastructure and environmental assets. Nine’s reporter, Sophie Walsh, visited the ACFR labs and interviewed our director, Prof. Ian Manchester. The story also features ARIAM partners Advanced NavigationReach RoboticsHullbot and Abyss Solutions Ltd.  Sophie Walsh, experienced our cutting-edge technology first-hand during a ride around Chippendale in ACFR’s self-driving vehicle, and saw robots being developed for disaster response and space exploration. Thank you to Nine News for showcasing our work and for raising awareness of the significant potential of robotics in many industries.







Professor Kurniawati Appointed as SmartSat CRC Professorial Chair

Congratulations to The Australian National University (ANU) expert Professor Hanna Kurniawati, who has been appointed as the SmartSat CRC Professorial Chair for System Autonomy, Intelligence, and Decision Making. Professor Kurniawati is ARIAM Hub’s Theme Lead on Planning and Control and part of the Hub’s Executive Leadership Team.

SmartSat is Australia’s leading space research centre – where a team of Australia’s top researchers come together to spearhead the development of next generation space technologies.

“I am grateful and excited for this opportunity. Space technologies are entering a new era that will become increasingly important to our daily lives, and being in the Southern hemisphere, Australia has a geographical advantage in this domain,” she said.

Professor Kurniawati is based in the ANU School of Computing, and has significant experience in robotics, planning under uncertainty, robot motion planning, reinforcement learning, and integrated  planning and learning.

She has spent much of her career researching ways to develop decision-making technologies that would enable robots to operate more reliably and more robustly in cluttered and confined remote environments, as well as in crowded urban environments.

Read more…


ARC Linkage Grant to Hub CIs and Hub Partner

Congratulations to our Deputy Director Technology & Impact, Prof. Stefan Williams, and our Theme Lead, Dr. Viorela Ila, on the award of an 2022 ARC Linkage Grant in collaboration with Hub Partner Reach Robotics. Together they have been awarded $420,000 to investigate Visual Methods for Advanced Automation of Underwater Manipulation. The research will seek to increase the autonomy of underwater robotic systems engaged in intervention and inspection tasks.

About Australian Research Council Linkage Program

The ARC Linkage Program promotes national and international research partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies to facilitate the transfer of skills, knowledge and ideas as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.

The Linkage Projects grant opportunity supports projects which initiate or develop long term strategic research alliances to apply advanced knowledge to problems, acquire new knowledge and as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.