The Queensland Government has just awarded an innovation grant to a researcher that is developing a robotic system to detect structural faults in buildings.
Dr Adnan Trakic, from the University of Queensland’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, is set to receive a $300,000 mid-career Industry Research Fellowship for the project with Whitsunday Moorings and Marine Construction.
The funding will enable Dr Trakic to develop a robotically-assisted inspection technology that would penetrate structures with microwave signals to be able to deliver 50-times more accurate and 300-times faster detection of deep-interior structural defects in Queensland tunnels, buildings, roads, bridges, mining infrastructure and sea facilities.
Dr Trakic explained that this technology (which combines microwave systems with cutting-edge robotic technology and artificial intelligence algorithms) has great potential because it will be the first gold standard structural inspection system for both terrestrial and underwater applications.
“Not only will an automated and robotic scanning system deliver better results, but it will also be more cost-effective and circumvent the tedious and inaccurate manual inspection,” he said.
“The applications are almost endless, and this technology will be able to be used to detect rust and cracks in concrete in roads, buildings, tunnels, bridges, mining facilities and marine areas including pylons, ports and vessels.”
“Queensland has a harsh environment, and factors such as sea salt and variations in humidity, temperature and wind, particularly during storms and cyclones, can lead to serious degradations in civil and marine infrastructure over time, thereby necessitating a robust, efficient and accurate automated inspections system, which is what this project aims to deliver,” the researcher concluded.
Member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, said that there ‘is huge’ export potential for this technology.
“This is a local company that’s using cutting-edge robotics to make people safer and fix structural problems earlier,” she said.
Innovation Minister Kate Jones also commented that the $7.2 million Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships announced today would support 30 researchers, working in collaboration with a Queensland company on projects that will have an impact on Queensland.
“Through our Industry Research Fellowships, we’re making sure that we’re keeping the state’s best and brightest researchers in Queensland and also attracting talented researchers from interstate and overseas.”
“Dr Trakic’s project has the potential to put Queensland at the global forefront in microwave-based AI research and development, which is likely to attract significant interest and resources from industry giants right around the world,” Minister Jones shared.