EC prepares for worldwide robotics push

New initiative aims to help cultivate a growing and competitive European robotics industry.

World

The European Commission (EC) has launched an initiative to help companies take a larger share of the global robotics market.

The commission has joined forces with European robotics manufacturers and research institutes to launch a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

The partnership is set to launch in 2013 and is the latest part of the EC's continuing Digital Agenda.

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A strong robotics industry is key to Europe's future competitiveness.

The EC has already funded more than 120 robotics research projects worth around 600 million (482 million) in the last five years.

EC vice president Neelie Kroes signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help strengthen the EU robotics sector.

The commission said that robotics is an important driver in the European economy, with the sector accounting for about a quarter of the worldwide production in industrial robotics.

The domestic and professional service robot markets are expected to grow by 40 per cent in the coming years, with the strongest growth in rescue, security and professional cleaning applications, the EC claims.

By 2020, the commission said service robotics could reach a market volume of more than 100 billion per year.

The PPP will be responsible for improving the industrial competitiveness of Europe through innovative robotic technologies, as well as providing robotic products and services as key enablers to help solve Europes societal challenges.

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It also plans to strengthen the networking activities of the European robotics community and reach out to existing and new users.

"A strong robotics industry is key to Europe's future competitiveness. Growing our robotics industry means new jobs and a strong European manufacturing sector," said Kroes.

The EC did not divulge which academic institutions and companies will be part of the PPP, but said that partners would prepare a proposal that the Commission would examine and endorse.

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