News release

Date: 26th June 2018

UK Robotics Week 2018: new whitepapers now available on Agri-Tech and Urban Transport

In-depth reports and recommendations on key robotics sectors released as part of UK Robotics Week (21st – 29th June 2018)

London, United Kingdom, Tuesday 26th June 2018 – UK Robotics Week 2018: two brand new, in-depth whitepapers are now publicly available exploring the key robotics sectors of Agri-Tech and Urban Transport.  The reports are being launched as part of UK Robotics Week 2018 – on now – and are available to download online:  

The “Agricultural Robotics: The Future of Robotic Agriculture” whitepaper provides an overview of the current impact and challenges facing Agri-Tech, as well as associated ethical considerations. The in-depth report spans the current trends and technological advances, as well as potential barriers to overcome in achieving the sector’s full potential.  The whitepaper includes clear recommendations for some of the challenges identified, and a basis for discussing the future technological roadmaps, and engaging the wider community, stakeholders and policy makers in assessing the potential social, economic, ethical and legal impact of RAS in agriculture.

Commenting on the launch, report author Professor Bruce Grieve of University of Manchester said: “The recent commitment of a £90million investment by the government really underlines the fact that Agri-Tech is a burgeoning market, so this whitepaper is a timely and important exploration of the use of robotics in this vital sector, which employs almost 4 million people and is larger than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined. Agri-Tech companies are already working closely with UK farmers, using robotics and AI to help create new technologies and bring forward new innovations, so this is a truly exciting time for the industry as we look to transform the challenges facing global agriculture into opportunities for innovation, investment and commercial growth.”

The “Urban  Robotics  and  Automation:  Critical  Challenges,  International  Experiments  and  Transferable  Lessons  for  the  UK” whitepaper offers a detailed analysis of the application  of  robotics and autonomous systems technology  in  supporting  urban  growth  in the  UK.  The report discusses urban  potential  in  various   aspects  of  urban  life,  such  as  health  care,  construction and  maintenance, as  well  exploring the   transport  and  socio-economic  impacts. The  paper  also  points  to  the  distinctive  ‘urban’  dimensions  of  RAS  innovation – from  laboratory  to  real -world  applications – and  looks at how  current  and  future  challenges  can  be  addressed.  The paper concludes with key recommendations for addressing some  of  the  acknowledged challenges,  and  provides  a  clear basis  for shaping discussion of  the  future  technological roadmaps,  engaging  the   wider  community, stakeholders and  policy  makers, and for  assessing  the wider implications of  RAS  in  Urban  Automation  and  Transport.

Commenting on the launch, report author Professor Simon Marvin of University of Sheffield said: “Cities are being automated at a steady pace and advances in urban automation and transport are continuously shaping our urban life and environment, so this whitepaper comes at a very interesting and key time in the technology progression.  Good city governance and resource utilisation enables smooth flow of services, data, and people, and many cities are now  becoming  test  beds  - for  both  national  and  local  governments  - to experiment with robots in social spaces, and  to explore their role in facilitating everyday life and good city governance.  With connected and autonomous vehicles set to take another leap forward in the UK thanks to a series of recent government funding announcements, we will continue to see major industry shift towards automation, connectivity, shared mobility and the electrification of vehicles. This market disruption is changing the way the urban environment is organised, and in this paper we take a comprehensive look at the transformative effect this will have on the way people travel, especially in cities.

Ends –

Notes for media

About UK Robotics Week 2018

The UK Robotics Week initiative is jointly spearheaded by founding supporters, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the UK-RAS Special Interest Group, and is being coordinated by the EPSRC UK-RAS network.

For full information about all the activities planned for UK Robotics Week, please visit the website: and follow UK Robotics Week on Twitter (@ukrobotics, #ukroboticsweek #UKRW18).

Members of the media interested in attending, filming or photographing any of the activities being held, or in scheduling an interview with a UK Robotics Week spokesperson or robotics expert, should contact

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) and partner universities across the country.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information visit

EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. By investing in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation.

Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a healthy, connected, resilient, productive nation.


For further information please contact:
PRESS CONTACT: Nicky Denovan EvokedSet Email: nicky[@]evokedset[dot]com

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