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Industry 4.0—also known as the fourth industrial revolution—refers to the current trend of:

  • advanced automation and robotics (including collaborative robots or ‘cobots’)
  • machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • sensor technology and data analytics

Four key drivers enable this trend:

  1. rising data volumes, computational power and connectivity
  2. emerging analytics and business-intelligence capabilities
  3. new forms of human-machine interaction, such as touch interfaces, augmented and virtual reality systems
  4. improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as robotics and 3D printing

Industry 4.0 is affecting almost every industry worldwide and is rapidly transforming how businesses operate. We’re creating an environment that will allow businesses to grow and compete by embracing new technologies.

Industry 4.0 Testlabs for Australia

The $5 million Industry 4.0 Testlabs for Australia initiative prepares businesses to transition to the smart factories of the future. The initiative will establish five new Industry 4.0 Testlabs at selected Australian universities.

The initiative will speed up collaboration between educational institutions and industry, particularly small and medium enterprises. This collaboration will develop the skills needed to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by Industry 4.0.

Testlabs provide a physical space for businesses and researchers to come together to trial, explore and showcase Industry 4.0 technologies and processes. This builds on the recommendations of the Industry 4.0 Testlabs in Australia report [9.1MB PDF]

Industry 4.0 collaboration with Germany

The Prime Minister's Industry 4.0 Taskforce was formed following the release of the report of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group. The report recommended government and industry collaboration in both countries on Industry 4.0., including initiating a collaborative approach to developing global Industry 4.0 standards.

On 25 April 2017, the taskforce signed a cooperation agreement with Germany’s Plattform Industrie 4.0 [1.6MB PDF] [710KB DOCX].

The Industry 4.0 Testlabs in Australia report [9.1MB PDF], released by the taskforce, explores the principles and framework for the adoption of Industry 4.0 in Australia by establishing testlabs. As part of its work with the taskforce, Standards Australia published the Industry 4.0: An Australian Perspective report. The report explores how Australian businesses can capitalise on opportunities presented through Industry 4.0 by participating in standardisation and interoperability initiatives being developed in Australia and around the world.

To strengthen the industry-led nature of the taskforce, it has been renamed the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum and is now hosted by the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group). Ai Group will lead the next phase of Industry 4.0 activities, focusing on building education, awareness and collaboration between a broader cross section of industry.

Investing in science and technology

We will invest approximately $2.4 billion in growing Australia’s research, science and technology capabilities over the next 12 years to support a stronger and smarter economy.

This funding will include:

  • supercomputers
  • world-class satellite imagery
  • improving GPS across Australia
  • upgrading the Bureau of Meteorology's technology platform
  • a national space agency
  • leading research in artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

As part of the Taking Local Businesses Global initiative, $29.9 million will support the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities of Australian businesses and workers.

This will include funding for:

  • Cooperative Research Centre projects with a focus on artificial intelligence
  • a national ethics framework to address standards and codes of conduct for adopting such technology in Australia

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Australian Council of Learned Academies will examine the opportunities, risks and benefits of AI applications and consider its impact. The key findings will cover economic, social, environmental, ethical and cultural impacts that will help guide AI development in Australia over the next decade.

The Council will also examine the opportunities, risks and consequences of the IoT, and consider ways to foster technological leadership while ensuring responsible deployment. The key findings will explore:

  • the economics of IoT
  • social and cultural perspectives of deployment
  • educational needs
  • governance requirements
  • technological standards

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Last updated: 14 August 2018

Content ID: 43811