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UK set to take on US and Japan for bigger slice of robotics technology market

snake arm

[A revolutionary bendy robot designed by UK tech firm OC Robotics]

Fearful it may be falling behind the likes of the US and Japan when it comes to exploiting commercial opportunities in the field of robotics, the UK is set to launch a concerted effort to get back in the game and make the most of revenue opportunities in the sector.

The government’s Technology Strategy Board said increased investment and adaptability was necessary to boost the UK’s robotics industry, recommending it take over sites such as disused mines and decommissioned nuclear facilities to use as test centers for the latest robot-based technology.

Farms, lakes, and even entire towns could also be used to test out the latest technology in realistic environments, with, for example, the streets of Milton Keynes, a town just north of London, already lined up for a driverless car experiment scheduled for next year.

Laws governing the use of machines such as drones and driverless vehicles should also be reconsidered to give operators more freedom to test their technology, the board said.

The UK may have the minds and the means to develop and produce groundbreaking robotics technology, but, as outlined in a recent Forbes piece, it too often fails to effectively commercialize researchers’ ideas, with many projects falling by the wayside on their way to the marketplace.

The Technology Strategy Board, which will outline its plans in full this week, hopes to change all that.

The US, Japan, South Korea and Germany are all home to healthy and profitable robotics industries, with the market expected to expand significantly in the coming years.

The UK government hopes its strategy will enable it to take a minimum 10 percent share of the global robotics market by 2025, which by then is expected to be worth as much as $120 billion.

[Via: Financial Times, Guardian]

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