QUT Rangerbot

RangerBot is an underwater robot that controls marine pests and facilitates coral restoration activities.  It is the world’s first vision-based robot designed specifically for coral reef environments.

The Challenge

RangerBot empowers reef managers, researchers and community groups with intuitive, customisable and affordable tools to monitor the Great Barrier Reef. It’s image processing algorithms enable day-night visual navigation and science data collection with six degrees-of-freedom manoeuvrability. Multiple science and manipulation payloads can be attached.

  • Services
    • Conceptual Design
    • Industrial Design
    • Ergonomics
    • Prototyping
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Product Visualisation
  • Technologies
    • Autonomous Robotic Capability
    • GPS tracking
    • Hydrodynamicsy
    • advanced real-time image processing
    • IPX6 rating
  • Client
    • QUT
    • Commissioned by Great Barrier Reef Foundation
    • Launched 2018


Designworks collaborated with a multifaceted team of experts from QUT headed by Matthew Dunbabin including specialist engineers, scientists and interactive designers.
Focusing on the end user, the design program included a series of iterative prototypes tested in swimming pools and on the Great Barrier Reef, providing critical design, usability and performance feedback.
This helped to create a robotic with exceptional capabilities, usability, hydrodynamics, controllability and transportability.

Humanising Technology

We translate technology into products that will improve lives in meaningful ways.


RangerBots have the ability to control pests like the Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish on the Great Barrier Reef. They can autonomously monitor and map reef health indicators like coral bleaching, pollution, and water quality.


Rangerbot’s unique compact and hydrodynamic design allows single person operation and transportation on commercial airlines. The optimised configuration of thrusters that allows six degree-of-freedom manoeuvrability is completely novel. The unique battery canisters and power electronics allow in-field hot-swapping to increase utilisation and deployment efficiency. The tablet-based user interface was built on stakeholder engagement to ensure utility and function.

The challenge and sense of achievement seeing products we design succeed for our customers gets us out of bed in the morning.