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Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Last week saw the publication of the Government’s Technology Strategy Board’s new Robotics and Autonomous Systems Strategy. A relatively low key event attended by Science Minister David Willets brought together representatives from the community that has drawn up the document.
Academics were much in evidence as were people from the world of robotic vehicles. Less in evidence were representatives from manufacturing (with the honourable exception of Siemens) where robotics is an established part of the landscape and automation is seen as (admittedly a slightly wider field than that looked at by the Strategy) one of the great potential areas for change and growth.
Fundamentally that reflects the way that Government looks at the technology – as something that is under development rather than as a fully-fledged part of the manufacturing toolkit. There’s a wider danger that opinion formers see innovation through one only one end of the development telescope. That doesn’t mean that the competitions and test facilities of the strategy are not good initiatives – they are. But it does mean that the fact that innovation takes place in organisations other than university spinouts and start-ups is something that we must continue to explain.
You can download the full robotics and automation strategy here: