Automated camera surveillance of traffic.

Creating machines that sense and respond

CSIRO develops computers and sensors that give machines near-human problem-solving capabilities.

  • 10 December 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011


CSIRO has expertise working with sensors and artificial intelligence systems to develop machines and products that can 'think' for themselves and react to changing conditions.

High-wear machinery that senses its own corrosion or fatigue, and food refrigeration systems that raise the alarm when they break down are just two examples.

We develop sensor systems that can be used for monitoring and maintaining the integrity of:

  • aircraft structural components
  • biomedical devices
  • infrastructure, including buildings, roads, tunnels
  • manufacturing machinery
  • utility networks, such as electricity, water, communication, gas
  • water quality, flow and disinfection.

Skills and experience

Research and development in intelligent sensing cuts across a number of sciences and we are able to bring together multi-disciplinary teams.

Our resulting expertise covers a broad range of skills and applications in this area, including:

CSIRO is developing systems that will allow machines and products to adjust their function and interaction, according to their environment.
  • sensor development and integration 
  • 'pervasive' computing, creating networks of sensors for sophisticated monitoring
  • autonomous sensor platforms
  • digital camera technology, including high frame-rate cameras
  • direct measurement devices 
  • data capture data analysis and discovering complex relationships
  • developing models for information interpretation and decision-making
  • designing smart materials with embedded or bonded sensors 
  • intelligent response capabilities, including diagnosis, prognosis and learning.

Exclusive facilities

Our facilities include an experimental multi-agent test-bed, which contains 192 autonomous electronic hardware instruments.

Each is capable of acquiring and processing data from sensors and communicating with neighbouring agents to form a network.

We also have test areas for heavy vehicles and robots up to 70 tonnes, advanced hardware and software laboratories and an extensive collection of modelling, simulation and optimisation tools.


CSIRO has made major contributions to a number of pervasive sensing and information-processing solutions including:

  • biosensors for on-line detection of micro-organisms, such as Legionella in cooling towers
  • networks of sensors for monitoring corrosion in aircraft and  monitoring and repairing damage in aerospace vehicles
  • a non-contact sensor that measures the thickness of dampening solution on offset printing plates at high speed
  • development of baNDIcoot™, a hand-held tool for non-destructive investigation of composite materials such as aircraft structures
  • automated detection of cracks in roads
  • licence plate recognition software in the Safe-T-Cam system.

Find out more about how CSIRO is Giving machines vision.

  • baNDIcoot™ is a trade mark of CSIRO Australia.