The United Kingdom has high expectations for robotics. We appear to be on the verge of the robot era. A robot revolution has been predicted for decades but it appears that robot technology is already changing the way we live.
Many devices in our cars and homes already exhibit robot behaviour. This will create a vacuum for Finnish expertise in the likes of big data analytics, M-2-M learning, processors, core technology, Wi-Fi, mobility and Internet of Things.
Global investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) was £6.8 billion in 2016. Accenture has estimated that AI could add in the region of £654 billion ($814 billion) to the UK economy by 2035. Boston Consulting predicts that 25% of jobs will be replaced by AI by 2025. The Bank of England predicts that AI will replace 48% of financial service jobs.
The UK government has dubbed robotics one of "eight great technologies" to focus on. James Dyson invested £5million into a robotics laboratory at Imperial College London to develop the "next generation of intelligent computing for the home and work". Developing robots that can process visual information in real-time could lead to a new range of handy and helpful robots for around the home and in industry.
The use of robots is especially effective in hazardous, or hard-to-reach, environments. The University of Manchester is pioneering research to develop robots capable of operating autonomously and effectively within hazardous environments such as nuclear facilities, while researchers at Imperial College London have received funds to make major advances in the field of surgical micro-robotics.
Imperial College London has extensive robotics activity, forming one of the largest European robotics research networks. Imperial College has close connections with Finpro in London. Laboratories with significant robotics activities are located in the departments of aeronautics, bioengineering, computing, electrical and electronic engineering and mechanical engineering. Researchers at the Dyson Robotics Laboratory at Imperial College London will develop computer vision programs that will enable robots to move beyond controlled environments and successfully navigate the real world.
The UK government is investing heavily in the "Catapult network" of research and development centres in the UK. These investments include areas such as autonomous vehicles at the Transport Systems Catapult and manufacturing line technology at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
The value of robotics for healthcare could be huge in terms of health, societal and economic benefits. The National Health Service (NHS) is the world's largest healthcare organization and has a clear agenda to deploy AI in order to improve efficiencies. It is anticipated that by 2050 machines will provide highly accurate diagnostics. Robotics offer the promise of sustainable and affordable health provision without compromising the quality of care. Frost and Sullivan predicts that AI healthcare revenues will reach $7 billion by 2021.
Key healthcare innovation areas are:
For a country with some of the top universities, the UK is lagging behind in the contest to dominate the robotics market. American companies are firmly in the lead – although the UK is a strong global contender.
Finland is a centre of excellence for key areas of robotics and AI development. Notably, cyber security, big data analytics, M-2-M, autonomous vehicle testing, life science, telematics, smart technology, user interface and experience as well as fintech.