Sixth Wave Alliance


The Sixth Wave Alliance (SWA) was created in 2018 to bring together Australian industry, research and government collaborators in order to promote and facilitate the adoption and creation of robotics and automation technology for the benefit of Australia.

SWA aimed to integrate key robotics research organisations and industry partners in Australia and provide a framework that enables a high level of R&D collaboration among the partner institutions, leveraging existing programs and investments. This allows the SWA to target large-scale, national problems of strategic and commercial relevance to Australia and internationally, far beyond what individual Robotics research groups in the country are able to achieve.

The term Robotics, in this context, is used in an encompassing sense and includes robotics-relevant areas in Computer and Machine Vision, Machine Learning and aspects of Artificial Intelligence.

SWA member organisations include CSIRO Data61, AlphaBeta, DIIS (Department of Industry, Innovation and Science), METSIgnited, NERA (National Energy Resources Australia), Australian Centre for Robotic Vision / Queensland University of Technology, Australian Centre for Field Robotics / The University of Sydney , The University of Queensland and Woodside Energy Ltd.

Other entities interested in advancing Australia’s robotics opportunity are encouraged to join SWA, contact us to learn more.

– History

April 2018 CSIRO Data61 proposed an alliance to bring together key robotics research organisations, industry partners as well as government agencies.
May 2018 Following a planning workshop held at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh, NSW with the attendance of representatives from a number of stakeholder entities, the Sixth Wave Alliance (SWA) was established.
July 2018 The formalisation of member organisations, as well as discussions with other institutions interested in joining SWA, are underway.
August 2018
A planning workshop took place in Brisbane, QLD with attendance of the founding member organisations as well as several others which will soon be affiliated.
December 2019 A meeting took place at CSIRO to discuss the formation of the Robotics Australia Network to replace the Sixth Wave Alliance.

– Mission

The Sixth Wave Alliance has been created to integrate all the key robotics research organisations and industry partners in Australia, providing a framework to enable a high level of R&D collaboration among the partner institutions, leveraging existing programs and investments.

– Vision

By integrating key robotics partners, the Sixth Wave Alliance aims to target large-scale problems of strategic and commercial relevance to Australia and internationally, far beyond what individual robotics research groups in the country would be able to achieve individually.

– The Robotics Roadmap (2018)

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision has partnered with industry, researchers and government agencies across the country to develop a roadmap which describes where we are, where we want to be and the options for getting there. (Dr Sue Keay, Roadmap Chair)

Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap is a guide to how Australia can harness the benefits of a new robot economy. Building on Australia’s strengths in robot talent and technologies in niche application areas, the roadmap acts as a guide to how Australia can support a vibrant robotics industry that supports automation across all sectors of the Australian economy.

Australia has a unique opportunity to take advantage of our human talents and unique environment to transition to a robot-ready economy while retraining and upskilling its workforce. This requires the collaborative, multi-sector approach outlined in this Robotics Roadmap summary.

This roadmap shows a pathway to the future we envision for Australia. A future where:

  • Robots do the dull, dirty and dangerous tasks not suited to human beings;
  • Robots solve many of the world’s most pressing challenges such as war, famine, natural disasters and environmental damage;
  • Robots help humans unlock potential and explore the furthest reaches of our universe.

This is a future where a prosperous Australia embraces a robot economy and builds national health, well-being and sustainability despite the challenges of our vast and remote geography.


The key recommendations listed in the Robotics Roadmap summary are:

  • INDUSTRY – Ensure Australia’s ongoing prosperity by stimulating formation of new hi-tech firms, encouraging global tech giants to invest in Australia, and reskilling Australian workers.
  • EDUCATION – Equip all Australians with Industry 4.0 relevant skills.
  • GOVERNMENT – Lead the region in catalysing robotics activity by setting ethical, legal, regulatory and standards frameworks, adopting robotics in government services.
  • R&D – Develop clusters of robotics activity, encourage VC investment, develop pathways to commercialisation and encourage application of the social sciences.
  • CULTURE – Support an entrepreneurial culture around Australia’s niche robotics capability and harness the nation’s imagination through aspirational goals solving Australian challenges.

Some facts about Robotics in Australia:

  • Australia was the first country in the world to automate its ports.
  • Australian companies are using robots in manufacturing to reshore jobs back to Australia.
  • Australian mine sites already deploy self-driving haulage vehicles that transport tonnes of material each day.
  • Australian scientists are developing flying and underwater robots to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Australia won the Amazon Robotics Challenge in 2017, demonstrating our strength in robotic vision applied to logistics.
  • Australian group CanberraUAV are major contributors to the ArduPilot autopilot system used in UAVs all over the world.
  • The opportunity: a $AU23 billion global market for robotics and autonomous systems by 2025.

The Australian robotics industry is diverse, with more than 1,100 companies. The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision conservatively estimates that these companies benefit the Australian economy by employing almost 50,000 people and generating revenue of $12 billion.

The Robotics Roadmap for Australia was launched on Monday 18th June 2018 at 12pm AEST at Parliament House, Canberra. There are three versions of the document: a 4 page quick reference summary, a medium version (32 pages) and the full version (212 pages). For more information, please contact Dr Sue Keay via and Sandy Holmes via 

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1. Facilitate robotics and automation technology adoption

We aim to ensure that:

  • Australian industry remains globally competitive and connected, as a leader in the international automation supply chain; and
  • Australian people develop high-tech skills that will be in demand globally; and
  • Australia’s unique domestic technology requirements are satisfied.

2. Facilitate the creation of robotic and automation technology in Australia

By joining forces via our alliance, we aim to:

  • Connect our diverse talent, knowledge and resources, of industry, government and academia; and
  • Unify and expanding government and industry support and uptake for Australian robotics and automation research; and
  • Enhance the capability and capacity of the domestic ecosystem to support this technology.

3. Promote the social benefits of robotics

Spread knowledge of the several benefits of robotics and autonomation:

  • Assist the Australian workforce (increase safety and productivity); and
  • Advance the Australian economy (increase diversity and business opportunities); and
  • Address Australia’s challenges (resource limitations and environmental sustainability).


For more information, contact us.

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