The UK-RAS Network is sponsor and exhibitor at the European Robotics Forum (#ERF2017) which begun today, at the EICC Edinburgh.  This year’s theme is “Living and Working With Robots” with a focus on applications in manufacturing, disaster relief, agriculture, healthcare, assistive living, education, and mining. Over 800 leading scientists, companies, and policymakers working in robotics are attending the 3-day programme which features keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, and plenty of robots roaming the exhibit floor.

Delegates are able to have their photo taken by 'Linda' a mobile robot from Strand designed to assist secutiry staff, or play with Miro, a sweet companion pet robot,  encounter ahave their drinks served by a bartender robot from KUKA, or shake hands with ShadowRobot’s human-like hands. There are also various poster displays of projects funded by Horizon 2020 and European Union’s framework programme for research and innovation, and FP7 European projects.

Projects presented include:

  • FUTURA – Focused Ultrasound Therapy Using Robotic Approaches
  • PETROBOT – Use cases for inspection robots opening up the oil-, gas- and petrochemical markets
  • sFly – Swarm of Micro Flying Robots
  • SMErobotics – The European Robotics Initiative for Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs in Manufacturing by Integrating aspects of Cognitive Systems
  • STRANDS – Spatio-Temporal Representations and Activities For Cognitive Control in Long-Term Scenarios
  • WEARHAP – WEARable HAPtics for Humans and Robots
  • Xperience – Robots Bootstrapped through Learning from Experience

Professor David Lane, ERF2017 General Chair and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, said,  “We’re delighted this year to have two invited keynotes of outstanding quality and relevance from the UK, representing both research and disruptive industrial application of robotics and artificial intelligence. EURobotics and its members are committed to the innovation that translates technology from research to new products and services. New industries are being created, with robotics providing the essential arms, legs and sensors that bring big data and artificial intelligence out of the laboratory and into the real world.”

The forum hopes to be beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses, to offer a platform for increased links beteen industry and academia and to enhance the progress of research in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Alongside this, there are a number of discusion planels on the ethics of robots and AI, and Dr Patricia A. Vargas, ERF2017 General Chair and Director of the Robotics Laboratory at Heriot-Watt University, said, “As robots gradually move to our homes and workplace, we must make sure they are fully ethical. A potential morality code for robots should include human responsibilities, and take into account how humans can interact with robots in a safe way. The European Robotics Forum is the ideal place to drive these discussions."

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Keynote speakers include:

Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Member of the Scottish Parliament
Raia Hadsell, Senior Research Scientist at DeepMind
Stan Boland, CEO of FiveAI

The full programme can be found here.

The European Robotics Forum is organised by euRobotics under SPARC, the Public-Private partnership for Robotics in Europe. This year’s conference is hosted by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. euRobotics is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels with the objective to make robotics beneficial for Europe’s economy and society.  With more than 250 member organisations, euRobotics also provides the European Robotics Community with a legal entity to engage in a public/private partnership with the European Commission, named SPARC. SPARC, the public-private partnership (PPP) between the European Commission and euRobotics, is a European initiative to maintain and extend Europe’s leadership in civilian robotics. Its aim is to strategically position European robotics in the world thereby securing major benefits for the European economy and the society at large.

SPARC is the largest research and innovation programme in civilian robotics in the world, with 700 million euro in funding from the European Commission between 2014 to 2020, which is tripled by European industry to yield a total investment of 2.1 billion euro. SPARC will stimulate an ever more vibrant and effective robotics community that collaborates in the successful development of technical transfer and commercial exploitation.