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RACE centre in ‘pole position’ to lead UK robotics

Posted on 04 Aug 2019 and read 885 times
RACE centre in ‘pole position’ to lead UK roboticsThe UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) will remain at the forefront of UK robotics after the Government agreed last month to provide funding for a £3 million extension to its Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) research facility in Oxfordshire.

Since opening at Culham in 2016, the RACE (www.race.ukaea.uk) facility has conducted R&D into the use of robotics in extreme industrial environments and helped companies to develop their own autonomous systems.

It is a key centre for implementing the Government’s Robotics & Autonomous Systems strategy, which aims to equip the UK to compete in this emerging global industry.

The building extension, funded by the Business Department, will allow the RACE workforce to expand by more than 50% — to 250 people.

It will also allow increased collaboration with both academic and industry partners on the latest robotics equipment and testing facilities.

Existing partnerships have already seen RACE work with organisations testing solutions for the international fusion-energy project ITER, decommissioning technology for the nuclear industry, driverless cars and ground robots.

RACE head Rob Buckingham said: “This investment in the RACE building is a big deal for robotics, because remote operation is mission-critical for a fusion power plant.

"In addition to supporting key international fusion projects, we are working on wider challenges in hazardous environments, including nuclear decommissioning and remote inspection.

"We want to share knowledge, rather than assume that RACE’s technological developments will be picked up by the supply chain.”