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Thursday, April 22, 2010

European Robotics invisible

An infograph about robotics from Jason Powers at Online School of Technology is spreading on the Internet, showing some facts about robotics in the US, Japan and Korea, but nothing about European robotics. This should be a warning for the European robotics community and increase efforts to position Europe better on the global robotics map.

Japan is positioned since years as the leading robot country and iconed with its humanoids. USA is positioned as leading in space and defense robotics. South Korea has ambitious plans to increase global awareness with its Incheon Robot Land Edutainment Science park. Europe lacks behind and is not recognized as a leader in next generation robotics, despite great public robotics research funding.

European Robotics
Since year 2000 about EUR 600 million have been invested in Europe by the EU, academia and industry in robotics projects with a total av 6000 man-years. There are at least 7000-8000 researchers in Europe thinking about and developing next generation robotics. But why is Europe still missing to be recognized as a leading robotics region?

The European robotics community (EURON/EUROP) may be aware of this fact, but so far no action has been taken to place European robotics and the European vision of a "Robot Companion for Citizens" in the global mind.

Robotreneurs of the Future
But if Europe wants to win the robotics race place 4 is not enough. What is needed is a strategy to attract Europe as a place where young, talented people can develop and realize their robotics dreams.

When US entrepreneurs and venture capitalists at a recent New England Research and Development (NERD) Center meeting told startups looking to get rich with robots "they may have better luck with the military than with consumers", this should be warning but also an opportunity for Europe to rethink its robotics strategy.

When USA is trying to land robots on the moon in 2012, Korea is opening Robotland in 2013 and Japan is launching their partner robots in 2014, Europe should be ready in 2015 to enter the scene with open, green and safe Welfare Robotics innovations that can attract millions of customers in industry and private homes. Europe should now focus its research agenda on real needs and develop robot applications that can increase quality of work and/or quality of life for many.

As discussed at the EURON/EUROP a better coordination between academia and industry is needed and also a new arena for innovation and risk sharing, where talented roboticists and robotreneurs of the future can meet market needs, state-of-the-art robotics and funding to realize robotics dreams.

Cooperation between national robotics clusters in Europe should been promoted better to speed up technology transfer, networking and development cooperation.

A coordination action is needed to promote European robotics in an European and global context.

Global Robotics Brain 2010
A contribution to promote Europe robotics in a global context is the new Global Robotics Brain 2010 developed by Infonaut. It is a unique network database with more than 14.500 robotics research and development organizations including 23.700 links to people, projects and publications. The database also includes more than 5200 web links, 1700+ notes and 120 tags.
A public beta version will be available very soon.

Sign up to become a BETA user.


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