Robots are complicated systems that combine the knowledge of programming and engineering within it. By mixing these two complicated areas of expertise we can create robots that are just as capable as we need them to be. Robots can be used in very different areas of life – from carindustry to entertainment - based on the complexity and functionality of a certain robot. Starting from January 2021, CIVITTA Estonia is leading the Horizon2020 project Robotics4EU that gives us an opportunity to contribute to the wider use of AI-based robots in Europe.

During this project, we focus on using robotics in 4 main priority areas: healthcare, agriculture, maintenance and inspection of infrastructures and agile production. In these areas the need for quickly introducing robotics solutions is most important. The reason for this is growth in the number of births and the higher average age which result in the need for higher production volumes. That is why the main term used in this context is “efficiency” which translates into the need for more automatization and robotics solutions used by companies to solve the problem.

The wider use of robotic solutions is hindered by many factors

Enhancing production volumes and efficiency is only one side of the coin. Second important topic is understanding the degree of readiness in the society for the wider introduction of robots. Citizens have justly, many questions and hesitations in regard to ethics, privacy, cyber security, policy and socio-economic topics.

For example, reliability and safety. Who is responsible in case of any accidents caused by robots? Is our data secured properly? How much can we minimize the human contact in the field of healthcare? Is policy up to date in regard to robotics? To top it off – will the robots take over our jobs or not?

In order for people to accept and start using robotics solutions we need to understand that in addition to the product development and technological advancements it is equally important to involve people in the process in order to meet their expectations in terms of non-technical aspects.

For the better understanding of those non-technological problems, Robotics4EU will conduct extensive researches among relevant interest groups like umbrella organizations, public and private enterprises, trade and labour unions, clusters and citizens.

Based on this research and analysing the good practises of previous Horizon2020 projects, responsible robotics maturity assessment model will be prepared. Based on this we will conduct discussions with citizens and workshops among relevant interest groups. The model will be tested on users and a high-level interest group forum “The future of European responsible robotics” will be organised. By the end of the project a report will be written which will be used for other similar projects and also to transfer the results to the standardization bodies.

Robotics4EU offers a solution

CIVITTA offices in Estonia and Lithuania together with partners, such as Robotex from Estonia, Norwegian University of Science and Technology from Norway, Danish Board of Technology from Denmark, AGRIFOOD Lithuania DIH from Lithuania, GLOBAZ S.A. from Portugal and Laboratoire de Metrologie et D’essais from France combine the consortium of Robotics4EU which will map the non-technological problems of (AI-based) robotics.

In addition to mapping and understanding the bottlenecks in the field of robotics in Europe, an online platform for relevant interest groups in the 4 priority areas will be created. The purpose of this platform is to broaden and empower the responsible robotics community by transferring knowledge and good practises about non-technological aspects of (AI-based) robotics and their impact. “AI-based” means that the robots perceive the environment around them and act accordingly. For example, the robots can identify persons around them and avoid running into them.

The project has an important advantage as the platform developed will be done in accordance with the AI4EU platform. Robotics4EU platform therefore includes both, the artificial intelligence field and (AI-based) robotics field. A platform like this will benefit greatly to the uptake of robotics in the priority areas.

For more information on Robotics4EU

We plan on taking part in the most significant events in robotics field in Europe (like Robotex International, European Robotics Forum, International Conference on Robotics and Automation etc) in order to reach the relevant interest groups and share information about the  Robotics4EU cause. Additionally, our objectives will be shared through Nordic Journal of Science and Technology as well as in other relevant publications.

The project will last for 3 years (until the end of 2023). If you are interested in contributing to the project or find yourself to be relevant in joining our research, then please contact Anneli Roose ([email protected]) from CIVITTA Estonia.