The UK's ability to develop and exploit the potential of robotics and autonomous systems is said to have been given a major boost with the formal launch of the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS). According to the network, the market for such devices is likely to rise to $59.5billion by 2020.
Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, UK-RAS chair, said: "Robotics and autonomous systems are set to play an increasingly vital role in the growth of the UK economy. This dedicated network provides a focus for the UK's research and engineering excellence for the first time, ensuring that the UK can maintain its competitive edge in RAS innovation."
The network will coordinate the UK's core academic capabilities in robotics innovation and encourage academic and industry collaborations. The founding network members are Imperial College, Bristol Robotics Lab, University College London and Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Leeds, Liverpool, Loughborough, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and Warwick universities.
Kedar Pandya, head of the engineering theme for EPSRC, added: "The technology being developed at these EPSRC funded RAS facilities will deliver a significant impact on the research landscape and attract the kind of industrial investment that will maximise the UK's stake in the worldwide robotics market."