Robotics and AI projects funded

Posted on 23 Nov 2017 and read 708 times
Robotics and AI projects funded Funding of £68 million will be awarded from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to the latest ‘ground-breaking’ research and innovation projects in robotics and artificial-intelligence (AI) systems.

The awards — part of the Government’s £93 million of funding for the ‘robotics and AI in extreme environments’ programme, announced in the April 2017 Budget — aim to develop robotic solutions to make a safer working environment (in industries such as offshore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining), increase productivity and open
up new cross-disciplinary opportunities.

The winning projects include a £44.5 million investment (over three and a half years) for four research hubs managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

These will deliver internationally leading research and will be supported by an additional £51.6 million from commercial and international partners. The UK Space Agency is co-funding one of the hubs.

Funding of £16.5 million (following a collaborative R&D competition run by Innovate UK) will go to over 70 businesses, 13 universities and 10 research organisations, while funding of £3 million will go to 17 demonstrator feasibility studies, following a separate competition run by Innovate UK.

A further £4.3 million will go to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to fund five research projects at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the universities of Exeter and Southampton, to develop sensors capable of working in the ocean’s extreme conditions.

Philip Nelson, EPSRC chief executive, said: “These new Robotics Hubs will draw on the country’s research talent to nurture new developments in the field of robotics and provide the foundations on which innovative technologies
can be built.

"The results of this research will allow us to explore environments that are too dangerous for humans to enter without risking injury or ill-health. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is helping us achieve a joined-up approach to research, discovery and innovation.”

Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK, said: “These pioneering projects, driven by the very best minds in UK research and industry, exemplify the huge potential of what can be achieved through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

“These are just the first competitions in robotics and AI; there will be further opportunities for businesses in the coming months.”

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