£400m Tech Kitty to Fund UK Robotics Explosion

By Gary Cutlack on at

The UK's Technology Strategy Board wants us to become the world-leader in robotics, funding a mission to usurp Japan's nice medical bots with automated helpers able to patrol decommissioned nuclear power stations to keep the nation safe.

The TSB has £400m in funds to help push the UK's tech scene ahead, with Science Minister David Willetts saying: "Robots have often been positioned as a thing of the future, but today's strategy-launch emphasises the fact that they are very much of the here and now."

The idea is to promote specific test sites for robots and channel funding to existing robotic development hotspots in the UK, with abandoned coal mines and expired nuclear facilities highlighted as places where new robot communities could be introduced to test their free-roaming, autonomous abilities.

Prof David Lane of Heriot-Watt University who advises the robotics division at the TSB said: "We need to act quickly if we don't want to be left behind ... With the right course of action, we believe the UK could achieve 10% of the global market share by 2025." [BBC]

Image credit: Old robots from Shutterstock