TWO Scottish universities have been given just over £6 million of UK Government funding for research in the field of robotics and autonomous systems.
Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh have jointly secured the money, which will be used to develop a research centre in the capital.
Robotics and autonomous systems have the potential for use across a broad range of sectors, from oil and gas production to prosthetic limbs.
The funding is part of a wider £85 million investment in various kinds of technologies.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, has revealed that funding will be made available to more than 20 universities across the UK to support and strengthen existing research in the areas of robotics and autonomous systems, advanced materials and grid-scale energy storage.
Professor David Lane, of Heriot-Watt University, said: “Robotics has the potential to create breakthroughs in oil and gas, manufacturing, search and rescue, defence and environmental monitoring.
“There are wider societal gains too. Autonomous robots could be deployed in to elderly people’s homes to assist users in their everyday tasks, for example. Also, we’ll advance the capabilities of prosthetic limbs.
“With our partners from the University of Edinburgh, we will draw on the expertise of over 50 investigators working in 16 research groups and institutes co-located in the city, making the capital a global leader in the field.”
Professor Dave Robertson, head of the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This new centre builds upon Edinburgh’s reputation as an international hub for robotics research and prepares us for new challenges where humans and robotic systems must work together.”