Chloe Shakesby

Government aims for UK to become "science superpower" with £7m funding for robotics projects

The government has announced that it is providing £7m of funding for new robotics and AI technologies across the UK.

The funding, announced today, is part of a drive to ‘build back better’ from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

It will support 38 business-led projects, including a remotely operated search and rescue service, a paint applicator robot and a healthcare drone pad control centre.

The search and rescue project is being implemented by Offshore Survival Systems, creating a ‘first of its kind’ service which will use a network of semi-autonomous unmanned rescue vessels (URVs) to save lives at sea.

The government has said that the projects will transform several industries and sectors, making them safer and more productive.

Amanda Solloway, science minister, said: “We are throwing our weight behind the most transformative technologies because innovation is at the very core of our plans to build back better from the pandemic, drive productivity and grow the economy.

“From a first of its kind automated rescue service for UK offshore energy workers, to drone technology delivering for our NHS, these robotics technologies could be game changing as part of our continued efforts to tackle global challenges – from pandemic preparedness to climate change – all while cementing the UK’s status as a science superpower.”

Andrew Tyrer, challenge director for the robots for a safer world challenge, said: “The funding is crucial to widening the scope of our work and reach out to innovative designers not captured by our previous competitions.

“With net zero ambitions underlying industrial plans in every sector, and the chance to rebuild new industries after the pandemic, robotics, AI and automation are vital ingredients for the future.”

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