EPSRC announces first UK Robotics Week

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced the first UK Robotics Week to help celebrate innovation in the UK’s robotics industry.

The event will be held between 25 June and 1 July 2016 and will include the TAROS (Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems) Conference and the Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robots. It will also feature the finals of a series of international academic challenges in which leading robotic research groups from around the world will come to the UK to demonstrate the latest robotic technology, including: the School Robot Challenge; Surgical Robot Challenge; Field Robotics Challenge; Autonomous Driving Challenge; and UAV (Unmanned Ariel Vehicle) Challenge.

Professor Philip Nelson FREng, chief executive of EPSRC said: “UK Robotics Week is being launched at exactly the right time, the UK is forging ahead in robotics and autonomous systems research. However, we need to inspire young people and engage them with engineering so we have a future skills base to whom we can pass the baton. The events of Robotics Week will help children and adults gain a better understanding of how these technologies can bring societal and economic benefits.”

With the global market for service and industrial robots expected to reach $59.5billion by 2020, the UK government has identified robotics as one of the ‘Eight Great Technologies’ central to the future growth of the UK economy. The initiative is being coordinated by the EPSRC UK-RAS network and partner universities.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:“From driverless cars to tiny surgical robots, there is an array of exciting possibilities in robotics that can improve our lives. It’s critical that we inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to help develop these new technologies.”

The full programme of competitions and events is expected to attract significant global interest from academia and industry, and will help cement the UK’s position as a major force in robotics and autonomous systems development.