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Poll show public seeing a key role for robotics in tackling COVID-19 and future pandemics

A poll conducted as part of Robotics Week has found that one in three UK adults see a key role for the use of robotics in tackling, not only the COVID-19 crisis, but future pandemics as well.

Commissioned by the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network, the research has found that 36% of UK adults believe that robotics technology could help to ramp up the manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), while 33% feel that robot deliveries and the use of Unattended Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) could aid social distancing during public health crises such as the current global pandemic. When asked, 28% of those polled said that they thought robotics could play a vital role in automating the cleaning and disinfecting of public places.

The survey reports that the manufacturing sector tops the list of industries in which people think robotics are most useful, highlighted by 42% of respondents, ahead of logistics (30%) and military and defence (20%). While just under a fifth of those polled (17%) indicated that robotics should be most used in the medical sector, the medical field is also where most people (38%) expect to see the most rapid advancements in the next 12 months. A surge in robotics innovation is also anticipated by the UK public in 3D printing (34%), logistics (30%) and in the household (29%).

Other key findings from the research include:

  • Almost one in five (19%) UK adults think that robotics should replace people doing physical work
  • Whilst 56% of people have stayed as trusting since last year towards robotics, 16% of people have become more trusting.

This poll was carried out ahead of the annual UK Robotics Week, which returns for its fifth year from 22nd – 28th June 2020.

This year’s programme is showcasing the state-of-the-art in robotics systems research and development and includes prestigious academic challenges and engaging school competitions. New for this year is the Medical Robotics for Contagious Diseases Challenge, which invites the leading robotics research teams from across the world to submit innovative ideas that could offer solutions as part of a multi-faceted response to the current COVID-19 health crisis and future global pandemics.

This research suggests that the public are taking an increased interest in both the deployment and development of robotics and that the COVID-19 pandemic has done much to raise interest in how robots can and could be used across all walks of life.

For full information about all the activities planned for UK Robotics Week, use the link provided below.

Author
Neil Tyler

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