€3m European project to boost responsible AI-based robotics

€3m European project to boost responsible AI-based robotics

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The European Commission has launched a €3m project to boost the adoption of more responsible robotics and AI in Europe

Robotics4EU aims to take concrete steps to ensure a more widespread adoption of AI-based robots in the EU, particularly in the areas of Healthcare, Inspection and Maintenance of Infrastructure, Agri-Food, and Agile Production.

The project aims to gather a responsible robotics community, with representatives from companies and academia, citizens, policy and decision-makers, and it will organise community-building and co-creation events while advocating for the cause of responsible robotics.

An initial survey showed concerns over labour force, the consequences of robotics on overall human well-being, among others. The report also includes information regarding good practices from other projects, robotics community readiness and robots’ acceptability, cooperation between policy makers and the robotics community, among others.

The survey saw 1232 responses and 60 interviews in 15 countries with policymakers, robotics community members, and the citizens to understand whether and to which extent the non-technological aspects of robotics hinder the widespread adoption of robots in Europe.

The identified top concerns affecting the robotics uptake were technological unemployment (in socio-economic), safety (in ethics), surveillance (in data), harmonized regulation (in legal) and the lack of education (in education and engagement).

People tend to believe industrial robots (non-collaborative) performing specific tasks are already widely accepted but the first hindrance towards the integration of intelligent robots in society lies in their technological immaturity. Once such robots have proven their usefulness and efficiency in performing a task, a focus must be given on the absence of a direct negative impact on the user.

Collaboration between the policymakers and the robotics community is limited in its productivity due to the lack of communication and technical knowledge possessed by the policymakers. Common goals of boosting widespread adoption of robotics can only be reached by building networks and sharing objective information in universal terms understandable to all robotics community members, policymakers, and the public.

The project is recommending improvements in the interaction between policymakers and robotics producers as well as developing robots that interact with humans the focus should be in providing smoother interactions to provide robots that are more user-friendly. Robots must be safe, and privacy of individuals should be ensured.

A series of 20 workshops starting in November 2021 and lasting until mid-2022 aims to broaden and empower the responsible robotics community and encourage the debate around cutting-edge issues and ideas for practical solutions that will support the responsible adoption of AI-based robotics.

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