News release

Date: 14th December 2016

Now Open For Entries: “Robots for Resilient Infrastructure” Challenge, part of UK Robotics Week 2017

Researchers invited to register now for new Infrastructure Robot Challenge, to be held 27th & 28th June 2017 at University of Leeds

London, UK, 14th December 2016 – An exciting new Infrastructure Robot Challenge is now open for entries as part of the second annual UK Robotics Week 2017, a national week of celebration being held 24th – 30th June 2017.   Robotics researchers from around the world are invited to sign up now for the international “Robots for Resilient Infrastructure” Challenge event, which will be held at University of Leeds from 27th – 28th June 2017.  Registrations of interest should be submitted by Thursday 16th March 2017.

The two-day challenge event aims to bring together academics, industry and stakeholders to explore the future use of robots in the creation, inspection, repair and maintenance of critical infrastructure. The event is free to attend for both competitors and delegates, and registered attendees will be able to see live demonstrations of robots, explore the latest robotic technology, and discuss innovation challenges. The event will also feature keynote presentations from leading researchers and policy makers in the field.   Applications in robot domains including civil infrastructure, transport (rail, road, sea), offshore energy, space and nuclear are sought.

The Infrastructure Challenge is supported by The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and is organised in collaboration with the UK-RAS Network and UK Robotics Week. Challenge entries will be judged by a panel of leading robotic and infrastructure experts, who will be observing robots in action and awarding prizes on the basis of innovation, potential for impact, and style.

 “‘In the air, on the ground, underground and underwater – robots are now required to create, inspect, repair and maintain the physical infrastructure of our everyday lives,” comments Professor Rob Richardson, Director of the National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems at the University of Leeds. He adds: “By creating a unique platform for sharing ideas and driving collaboration in infrastructure robotics, this new Challenge event will enable everyone involved to come together to drive real-world improvement, and make a significant contribution to the future direction of robotics research and application in this key area.”

Opportunities for robotics systems that address the challenges facing infrastructure are considerable. It is estimated that by 2021 nearly £500bn will need to be invested in developing and maintaining national infrastructure, including energy, transport, social infrastructure, and water and waste. The UK nuclear waste industry is one of the largest in the world, and the industry has identified a need for fleets of human-manager supervised autonomous robots to be deployed in order to guarantee the competitiveness and ultimately the survival of UK nuclear waste reprocessing. There is also an urgent requirement to ensure that more cost-effective technologies are developed to target disaster relief and resilience internationally. RAS plays a crucial role in future disaster relief and resilience by decreasing costs, increasing capabilities, reducing response times and improving persistence.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang PhD, FREng, Director and Co-founder of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery at Imperial College London and Chair of the UK-RAS Network comments: “We are excited to introduce this brand new Challenge for 2017, one of four academic challenges which contribute to the exciting UK Robotics Week programme. We invite robotics innovators from around the world to register now to take part in the Infrastructure Robot Challenge, and harness a unique opportunity to showcase their work in this vital area of research.”

To register for the Robots for Resilient Infrastructure event, please visit:

For more information about the event, and all the activities planned for UK Robotics Week, please visit the website: and follow UK Robotics Week on Twitter (@ukroboticsweek)

Ends –

Notes to editors
For more details about UK Robotics Week, please visit  

About the EPSRC UK-RAS Network (    

The EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network) is dedicated to robotics innovation across the UK, with a mission to provide academic leadership in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), expand collaboration with industry, and integrate and coordinate activities at eight Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded RAS capital facilities and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) across the country.

Nicky Denovan
Email: nicky[@]evokedset[dot]com





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