Government commits to leadership in robotics industry

Local and national investment is needed to make the UK a leader in emerging tech

The government has announced it will form a Robotics and Autonomous Systems Leadership Council to boost the UK's capabilities in these areas. 

The initiative will foster collaboration between industry leaders, academia and government to take advantage of the growing market. Its role will be to plan and execute the Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) strategy, which is predicted to be worth $1.9 to $6.4 trillion worldwide by 2025.

The government predicts the council will increase manufacturing capability in the UK by a fifth and will boost the country's digital and technological skills base. It anticipates particular benefits in the healthcare industry where such tech can be used for diagnostics, robot-assisted surgery and rehabilitation systems.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "From driverless cars to life-saving surgery, robotics and autonomous systems are playing an even bigger role in business and our day-to-day lives.

"Our response is clear we are serious about grasping the full potential of this multi-billion pound industry to help drive local and national growth and are putting in place the mechanisms to make this happen."

The news comes after Professor David Lane from Heriot-Watt University and Professor Rob Buckingham at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy approached the Department for Business Innovation and Skills saying action needed to be taken in order to place the UK as a leader in robotics.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark, MP Minister for Universities, Science and Cities said in his response to the professors: "The Government's response to the RAS 2020 strategy represents the commitment towards developing the UK's research and innovation capability in RAS. Through building on these recommendations and consolidating our existing strengths, we will develop a world leading position in RAS."

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