Future automation and Industry 4.0: What lies in store for the engineering profession?

March 28th, 2019

Dr Sue Keay, Research Director for the CSIRO’s Data61 Cyber-Physical Systems Research Program, of which our group is part of, caught up with Nadine Cranenburgh from create to discuss the future of robotics and automation, and what it means for the engineering profession.

“[…] As robotics and automation become more prevalent, Keay said engineers will be in demand. While mechatronics and software engineers will be involved in designing and programming systems, other disciplines will also be crucial. As an example, Keay pointed to the preparation needed to allow autonomous vehicles to safely navigate public road networks.

“Imagine the amount of work that is going to be involved with civil engineers having to redevelop infrastructure … None of this stuff happens without engineers,” she said.

Keay emphasised that businesses should be taking the lead in preparing their employees for increasingly automated workplaces.


Another thing that needs to change is the lack of gender diversity in engineering and other technological fields responsible for designing automated systems and AI, said Keay.

According to a recent Engineers Australia report, between 2001 and 2017 women made up only 14.1 per cent of students completing four year engineering degrees. Looking at the data more closely shows the proportion of female graduates has decreased over time. Between 2001 and 2005, 16.4 per cent of graduates were women. In the five years leading up to 2017, the proportion dropped to 13.2 per cent. […]”

Read the full article here.

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