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Robotics Week to show the rise of machines

Press AssociationPress Association 24/06/2016

Robots are about to take over university campuses across the UK.

The Rise of the Machines marks the start of the first UK Robotics Week, organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

A series of events aimed at raising public awareness is planned from Sunday June 25 to July 1, including demonstrations of robotic technology, talks, discussion meetings and school competitions.

They include two surgical robot and field robot "challenges" showcasing the latest medical and agricultural developments from around the world.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, from Imperial College London, who chairs the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network, said: "The UK is home to some of the most innovative robotics research centres in the world. UK Robotics Week provides a unique opportunity to start discussions on how robotics and artificial intelligence will change our lives.

"The wide range of programs across the country, during the week, offers the general public opportunities to learn about the current state-of-the-art in robotics and future trends.

"Furthermore, competitions such as the School Robot Challenge will spark children's interest in science and technology and help equip them with necessary skills for the future."

A poll of 1,282 UK adults commissioned for Robotics Week found that one-fifth of those questioned believed driverless cars would reduce road rage, and more than one-quarter thought their biggest benefit would be fewer accidents.

While men expected motor vehicles to gain most from robotics technology in the coming decade, women thought the greatest impact would be in medicine.

Professor Philip Nelson, chief executive of the EPSRC, said: "There can be little doubt that robotics and autonomous systems are going to change many aspects of our lives.

"We are near to realising a world where machines not only address laborious, repetitive or dangerous tasks on our behalf, but one where they act cooperatively with us, drawing on knowledge and experience to learn and to help us take decisions.

"I hope that the first UK Robotics Week will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to push the boundaries further."

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