Dr Adnan Trakic, University of Queensland

Researcher Dr Adnan Trakic.

A Queensland researcher working on a robotic system to detect faults in major structures has received an innovation grant to further develop this technology, with potential applications worldwide.

Dr Adnan Trakic from the University of Queensland has received a $300,000 Industry Research Fellowship from the Queensland Government for his collaborative project with Whitsunday company Artemis Robotics.

Dr Trakic said he would use the funding to develop a robotically assisted inspection technology that could penetrate structures with microwave signals to deliver 50-times more accurate and 300-times faster detection of deep-interior defects in major structures on land and in water.

He said that the technology could be applied to tunnels, buildings, roads, bridges, mining infrastructure and sea facilities.

‘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,’ Dr Trakic said.

‘Not only will an automated and robotic scanning system deliver better results, it will also be more cost-effective and circumvent the tedious and inaccurate manual inspection.

‘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.’

Artemis Robotics Director and CEO Darren Foster said Dr Trakic’s research had the potential to revolutionise inspection of major structures.

‘After undertaking the feasibility study with Dr Trakic, it became apparent that this technology has the capability of being a step-change in the testing of non-ferrous materials,’ Mr Foster said.

‘We are looking to deploy the new sensor technology across a range of industries and covering several different materials over the next few years.

‘Dr Trakic has brought a wealth of information and background knowledge to help us build new sensors based on millimetre wave technology, and without this funding we may not have been able to undertake the project at this time.’

The new technology has major export potential.

Artemis Robotics was established by Mr Foster’s company Whitsunday Moorings & Marine Constructions, after Mr Foster and business partner Ken Spruce noticed deficiencies in methods for inspecting marine structures and began developing automated technologies to address this.

TIQ has worked with Artemis to explore opportunities to attract international investment.

Dr Trakic is one of 30 researchers who received a total of $7.2 million in funding in the most recent round of the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships.

Knowledge industries and advanced manufacturing are identified as emerging export strengths in the Advancing Trade and Investment – Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.