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£16 MILLION BOOST FOR UK ROBOTICS

07 November 2012

UK research to develop smart machines that think for themselves will receive a £16m boost thanks to a major partnership between the government and industry.

This research includes safe ways of monitoring in dangerous environ - ments such as deep sea installations and nuclear power plants; ‘nursebots’ that assist patients in hospitals; and aerial vehicles that can monitor national borders or detect pollution.

Speaking at the official opening of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England, Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced funding for 22 university-based research projects in the UK. Led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and an eight-strong group of partners, the investment has over £4m in support from industry. This will include equipment, expertise and advice on commercialisation and industrial - isation. The partners are BAE Systems, Schlumberger, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Sellafield, Network Rail, SCISYS, DSTL and the UK Space Agency.

Willetts said: "Robotics and autonomous intelligent systems are areas of science in which the UK has world class expertise, but to reap the full benefits for the economy and society we need to get better at applying the technology to industry.

This £16m investment will bring together leaders from the research base and business to develop systems for a range of important sectors, from transport to aerospace.

"In addition, I have asked EPSRC, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Technology Strategy Board to organise a roundtable to discuss the future of UK research in this area.”

 
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