The European Commission has recently agreed to launch a Public Private Partnership in Robotics (PPP) between academia and industry for 2013.
The initiative aims to help Europe-based companies take a larger share of the global robotics market which is valued at an annual 15.5 billion euros!
Vice President of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, stated that “A strong robotics industry is key to Europe’s future competitiveness. Growing our robotics industry means new jobs and a strong European manufacturing sector. ” In fact, the commission maintains that three million jobs are created or maintained worldwide as a result of using one million industrial robots.
Specific goals of the PPP aim to promote the growth of domestic and professional service robot markets and to reach out to new users and markets. The PPP will also contribute to policy development while addressing ethical, legal and societal issues concerning the use of robots.
As an important step in the process, A recent survey, carried out in each of the 27 member states, examines public attitudes towards robots including public perceptions, acceptance levels and worries and reservations among EU citizens over 15 years of age.
Results of the survey show that the majority of EU citizens have a positive view of robots with percentages as high as 88% in countries such as Denmark and Sweden. According to the study, Europeans’ positive attitudes on robots are based on the notion that they are helpful because they can assist humans in tasks that may be too difficult or too dangerous for us to do. However, the study also pointed out that Europeans believe robots require careful management and the fear that they might steal people’s jobs is still present.
When it comes to where Europeans think robots should be used, sectors such as: space exploration , manufacturing , military and security and search and rescue tasks were most prevalent. On the flip-side, people were more hesitant to favour the use of robots for the care of children, the elderly or the disabled however, results also demonstrated that few Europeans have had personal experience with robots and that, the common conception of a robot tends to be that of a machine used in the workplace rather than a human-like machine that helps in the home.
If you’re interested in new kinds of European Robotics projects, check out Robot Companions for Citizens which aims to develop robots to help tackle some of Europe’s critical societal challenges. The innovative Robotics project is striving for a 1 billion euro grant from the European Commission and the competition has now come down to the wire! Click HERE for more information.
You can also follow the Robot Companions for Citizens Facebook page.