Members of UKRI board visit National Robotarium

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Members of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) board have visited Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh for a tour of its new National Robotarium.

Board members, which included the director general for science innovation and growth at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Jo Shanmugalingam, joined Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh principals, professor Richard A. Williams and Peter Mathieson, and others, for a walk through the purpose-built facility. The visitors were updated on the development of research facility for robotics and AI, as well as its visions for the future.

The group were shown examples of the kind of robotic technology that will be tested and developed at the site once it opens for business later this year, including a demo by Boston Dynamics robot dog.

Spot has been used by construction company Robertson to record and analyse vital data across the hazardous areas of the National Robotarium building site. They also got a glimpse of the new Assisted Living Lab, which will emulate a real-life living environment for testing robotic solutions to support independent living in the home.

Following the tour, the group sat down for a round-table discussion that covered the universities’ progress in developing research collaborations with industry partners, and proposals for future growth and development of the multi-million pound facility.

Stewart Miller, chief executive at the National Robotarium, said: “It was a privilege to meet with our guests from UKRI and demonstrate how investment in the National Robotarium will have a direct benefit to society and the UK economy. Scotland already has a rich background in robotics and AI and the establishment of the National Robotarium is the next phase in positioning us as global leaders in this rapidly growing industry.

“Our new building will not only be home to cutting edge technology, automated systems, and laser labs, but will also include multiple collaboration spaces for industry partners to work directly with us to develop and test their ideas.

“Creating this synergy between industry, science, talent development and enterprise is what’s going to help drive the National Robotarium to achieve its goal to becoming a world-leading centre for robotics and AI.”

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