Professor Ian Reid

Professor Ian Reid

ARC Laureate Professor

What are you working on?

As Deputy Director of the ARC’s (Australian Research Council’s) Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, I lead AIML’s research efforts in robotic applications of computer vision and machine learning. We’re answering the question of how to make robots ‘see’ and ‘understand’ the world, so that they can operate effectively and safely in unstructured and changing environments.

A core research area in which I’m a pioneer is visual SLAM (simultaneous localisation and mapping)—technology that enables a video camera to simultaneously map a scene and track its own location in it. This is now at the heart of autonomous vehicles, such as self-driving cars and robotic vacuum cleaners.

It’s valuable work. Each time we create an application-specific robot that can visually sense its environment and perform a new task, we push the boundaries of robots as effective co-workers and tools for social benefit—doing the three ‘d’s (dull, dirty and dangerous) and improving productivity.

How did you come to be here?

I joined AIML in 2012 (then the Australian Centre for Visual Technologies) after spending 24 years at Oxford, where I’d been a senior member of their world-recognised computer vision group.

I’d collaborated with the AIML team from time to time for many years and been impressed. Then, for a combination of family and academic reasons, I decided to accept a job here.

What do you like about AIML?

I love being part of such an active, world-class research group, and the vibrant culture of collaboration among the postdocs and students is fantastic.