Dr Juan C. Moreno, Director of the Neural Rehabilitation Group at Cajal Institute and Coordinator of the EU INBOTS CSA, lifts the lid on the field of interactive robotics and promoting an understanding and acceptance of these advanced machines
The project “Inclusive Robotics for a better society” (INBOTS) is a Horizon 2020 European CSA, bringing together experts from different disciplines to establish a working synergy between all the relevant stakeholders in the field of interactive robotics and to promote an understanding and acceptance of these types of advanced machines.
Since January 2018, a team of members from 25 institutions from 12 European countries have been working to overcome the lack of clear understanding and communication between all the stakeholders involved in the development and commissioning of interactive robotics. The goal is the creation of a community hub capable of establishing the basis of a responsible research and innovation paradigm for robotics. This approach is focused on the creation of synergies between four pillars:
Business pillar – players that are deeply involved in the commercialisation and marketing of robotic systems, such as start-ups developing new technological solutions for the market.
Technical pillar – academic or industrial experts that are currently realising efforts in researching and developing new robotic technology.
Ethical, Legal and Socioeconomic pillar – partners with a background on social and legal science, which have been actively participating in current discussions about robotics and responsible research and innovation actions.
End Users, Policy Makers and General Public pillar – guaranteeing that they will be actively involved, informed and trained on current and future developments in interactive robotics.
INBOTS is focused on six areas of expertise:
1. Entrepreneurship and non-technical support to SMEs
In this area, INBOTS is analysing the existing non-technical barriers in the diffusion of different robotic solutions in real-life applications. Thanks to a consortium able to cover different robotic fields, the project is identifying current and future market opportunities in specific robotic cases, developing appropriate business models and facilitating the networking between SMEs, large companies and potential end-users.
2. Debate on legal, ethics & socio-economic aspects
INBOTS is promoting a series of debates on the existing ethical, legal and socio-economic barriers around robotics. It is mainly focused on the following topics: the liability, risk management and insurance issues, the discussions derived from intellectual and industrial property law, the impact of interactive robotics in the labour market, considering the application of financial and tax rules, together with labour and social security law; and, finally, the human acceptance of interactive robotics, besides the possible corporations’ behaviours to promote their engagement with social responsibility strategies, as individual and territorial inequalities will undoubtedly rise.
3. Accessible and multidisciplinary education programmes
INBOTS works also in the identification of different training needs at all educational levels, in order to develop adequate strategies and teaching materials to fulfil these needs and spread the knowledge of robotics at different levels in society. Teaching methodologies will benefit from recent educational tools, including repositories for multimedia material, such as videos and e-books, organised to allow different levels of learning, ranging from the very basic concepts targeted to a broad public, to more advanced solutions for specific practical applications, up to the details of the mathematical and physical models of robots.
4. Standardisation and benchmarking
INBOTS is also identifying current needs and gaps in the standardisation and benchmarking of performance and safety of interactive robots in different application domains, analysing the impact of close human-robot interaction for standardisation and benchmarking and defining an integrated approach for performance, safety and human factors & ergonomics, especially considering the relationships and differences between the different application domains (healthcare, consumer, manufacturing, etc.) and the different regulatory domains (medical, industrial and consumer products).
5. Regulation and risk management framework
The project is working on a proposal for a regulatory & risk management framework for interactive robotics. To achieve this aim, INBOTS partners are promoting the identification of existing regulatory framework within Europe applicable to robots, assessing its effectiveness and desirability, establishing a dialogue with the European Union (EU) and national policymakers, as well as promoting, where necessary, legal reforms aimed at favouring the proliferation of a strong European robotics industry, while ensuring the highest levels of safe and high-quality design, consumer protection and responsible research and innovation, therefore, fostering the fundamental rights of EU citizens.
6. Societal and socio-economic uptake
INBOTS is creating a community where you can get support and outreach but it also aims to stimulate robotics uptake by the general public. For this reason, INBOTS is collecting best practices of new robotic applications, grasping the societal values, needs and expectations of robotics and what specific robotic applications are needed and identifying a set of key areas where potential to meet society’s needs are great and clear. The project is bringing together a variety of stakeholders to exchange ideas and expertise, and co-create experience-based evidence through knowledge generation, dissemination and sharing, raising awareness about robotics, promoting interest and acceptance of robotics and bringing attention to the connection between robotics development and societal development.
All the aforementioned outcomes are being collected in some specific documents, i.e. six White Papers on Interactive Robotics in the mentioned areas of expertise. Two INBOTS Conferences have already been organised and one final INBOTS Conference will be held in 2020, to debate and present all the ongoing activities on relevant topics of the project with experts outside the consortium. INBOTS is open to third- party collaborations through workshops, conferences and other events that ensure the inclusion of all the participants in the process of bringing interactive robotics to the market.
Also, the project produced a documentary video where all these goals are presented, together with the description of the current constraints and challenges in the field of interactive robotics. Soon, a second video will be available that presents interviews of relevant figures in the field of interactive robotics, giving their perspective about the future of this technology. This video and many more activities will be carried out during the oncoming months to ensure the uptake of interactive robotics by the general public and to create a community hub among developers, marketers and final users of these technologies.
INBOTS CSA invites all institutions, organisations, authorities and stakeholders in the field of interactive robotics to join our community hub.
Please note: This is a commercial profile
Editor's Recommended Articles
Must Read >> 34% UK public sector fear robots will replace them