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The UK’s robotics landscape

Throughout the past 18 months, the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Special Interest Group (RAS SIG) hosted a a series of workshops designed to explore the impact on the UK of advances in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). A newly published document - The UK Landscape for Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2015 - provides an overview of the resulting picture. Its overriding message is that a clear opportunity exists to create a strong RAS market within the UK.
 
What also emerges from the report is that robotics and autonomous systems will impact on each UK market sector and that the total size of this impact will be significantly greater than the size of the RAS sector itself. 
 
The sectors that will benefit the most from robotics and autonomous systems will also potentially experience the most disruptive innovation and the need to respond to change through the development of new business models is now obvious.
 
One clear finding that emerges from this landscape is that robots will no longer be confined to use within manufacturing. Robotics will extend its impact into almost every human activity. Such disruptive technical advances do not occur in isolation, they impact on society and on our economy. Understanding the landscape will guide strategy, policy and its enactment.
 
Forecasting this type of impact and the way markets will change is challenging, but by combining stakeholders, technical experts, market specialists and end users, it is possible to explore this transformation.
 
The message which emerges from the landscape is plain: the UK has a unique opportunity to engage with robotics and autonomous systems, to exploit existing expertise and explore its potential, but other nations are similarly engaged and the UK must now be bold and invest to win.
 
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