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National poll: third of Brits open to trialling the use of robots

Fascinating survey results reveal UK public’s understanding of – and attitude towards – robotics technology ahead of the UK Festival of Robotics 2022 (18th – 24th June)

London, United Kingdom, June 17th 2022—A third of people in the UK are open to trialling the use of robots, a key survey has found ahead of this year’s UK Festival of Robotics (18th – 24th June 2022).  A full 30% of UK adult respondents would be open to trialling the use of robots, if the technology fulfilled its potential to make day-to-day life easier.

The national poll, commissioned by the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network, reveals a number of fascinating findings1 about the UK public’s current understanding of – and attitude towards – robotics technology and its future role in our lives.

The research also uncovered that people in the UK are still unsure as to what exactly is meant by the term “robot”, and also about the potential ways in which robots could aid our everyday lives. When asked which household products could potentially be labelled as a robot, 41% correctly listed an automatic hoover, with 40% identifying a drone. Smart TVs (named by 20% of respondents) and smart speakers (39%) were all tech that people falsely believed to be robotic. The definition of a robot is a type of automated machine that can execute specific tasks with little or no human intervention, with both speed and precision.

When it comes to embracing the benefits of robots, over a quarter (28%) of people believe that robots are already an occasional part of their everyday lives, with one-in-ten (13%) going even further, suggesting that robots are fully integrated across all parts of their lives.

Partnered with the practical benefits, 17% of those polled believe that the use of robots could help to cut down on energy use, while 14% consider that the integration of robots will be a positive move for the environment.

Commenting on the research findings, EPSRC UK-RAS Network Chair Professor Robert Richardson said: “This year’s survey has uncovered some quite surprising responses about what people consider to be robots and robotic technology, and raises some really interesting questions about our relationship to this technology as it develops, which we’re looking forward to exploring more during the Festival. We’re so excited to be back with some fantastic in-person events this year, plus lots of opportunities to engage online, and we’re hoping to engage with as many people as possible throughout the week – listening to new ideas, answering questions, and demonstrating the positive impact of robotics and autonomous systems across of range of applications, some familiar and some completely novel.”

The UK Festival of Robotics, which begins tomorrow, is a national showcase of the very best of UK innovation in robotics, automation and intelligent systems, aimed at engaging, inspiring and informing people of all ages across the UK. Now in its seventh successive year, this 7-day celebration includes a jam-packed, free-to-attend programme of online and in-person events, spanning robot lab livestreams, careers discussions, and exclusive public open days. Topics will range from self-driving cars and driverless trains, to space robots, smart drones, robotics for extreme environments and much more.

Key festival events include:

  • Monday 20th June (12.30-1.30pm, Zoom): Robot Talk Live – an exclusive live Zoom edition of the EPSRC UK-RAS Network’s popular podcast, featuring special guest interviewees and conversations with the UK’s top roboticists.
  • Tuesday 21st June (online): School Robot Competition winners’ announcement – follow our social media channels to learn the winners of the 2022 Draw a Robot design and Once Upon a Robot story competitions for 5 – 11-year-olds.
  • Wednesday 22nd June (4-6pm, YouTube): Robot Lab Live – a one-of-a-kind virtual robotics showcase, livestreamed on the ESPRC UK-RAS Network’s YouTube channel, taking viewers directly into 12 of the UK’s top robotics labs (watch the trailer now: http://www.youtube.com/ukrobotics)
  • Thursday 23rd June (4-5.30pm, online, Zoom): How do I start a career in robotics?  – an online careers panel discussion aimed at UK GCSE and A-level students, and anyone looking to pursue a career in robotics and autonomous systems. This is a unique opportunity to pose your career questions to our expert panellists from industry and academia.

Kicking off the festival tomorrow is an exhibition on driverless vehicles and the future of public transport at the Innovation Platform at the National Railway Museum, and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) will be opening its doors to the public for the first time at RACE, its world-class centre for robotics and remote systems in Abingdon.

Aberystwyth University will also be returning with its annual Aber Robotics Week on Saturday, offering events including the BeachLab public robot showcase at the Aberystwyth bandstand and, later in the week, the University of Hertfordshire will be hosting a robot hackathon that will allow students to get hands-on-experience with real kit to design, develop and program a real wheeled robot (Friday 24th June).

The UK Festival of Robotics, held every year at the end of June, is hosted by the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network, which provides academic leadership in robotics and coordinates activities at over 30 partner universities across the UK.

For more information about the UK Festival of Robotics 2022, and to explore upcoming events, please visit: https://www.ukras.org.uk/robotics-week/

Join in the discussion on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ukrobotics
#RobotFest #UKFR

1. The research for UK Festival of Robotics was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 09/06/2022 and 13/06/2022 amongst a panel resulting in 2,006 respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2019) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.

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Notes to editors:

For a full list of upcoming events for the UK Festival of Robotics 2022 (18th – 24th June 2022), please see: https://www.ukras.org.uk/robotics-week/events/

About the EPSRC UK-RAS Network (https://www.ukras.org.uk
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.

PRESS CONTACT:
Nicky Denovan
EvokedSet
Email: nicky[@]evokedset[dot]com
Phone: +44 (0) 118 328 2782

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