Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

RockEU2 Report Summary

Project ID: 688441
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RockEU2 (Robotics Coordination Action for Europe Two)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The project builds on the success of the RockEU coordination action funded under the FP7 programme together with the competition expertise generated within RoCKIn, EuRoC and Eurathlon. The primary objective is to move beyond community building and develop communication structures, mechanisms and resources that will enable the robotics stakeholders within Europe to build a viable global market.
This represents a shift in focus from the community building objectives of RockEU to a greater emphasis on tasks that focus on outreach and community enabling activities that address the emerging needs of the European robotics community.
The project is built on three key themes that present challenges to the emerging robotics industry: outreach, innovation and skills. These key themes emerge from the targets of the work programme, and are reflected in each work package in the proposal. They represent the core concerns of the primary European robotics stakeholders.
In each theme the project seeks to achieve three core objectives, to examine and address barriers, to create interaction and collaboration, and to stimulate the transfer of knowledge and skills.

The project addresses these core objectives by deploying a set of basic tools:
- By organizing collaborative activities both with and for the community as well as for non-robotics
stakeholders.
- Through the provision of Information dissemination processes including social media and an
accessible information resource.
- By identifying best practice and key trends within the community and internationally.
The project does not seek to include all of the required expertise into the consortium. Instead, it will manage and implement diverse mechanisms to tap into the resources of the community through the network of the consortium partners. The ultimate goal is to create sustainable growth within the European robotics industry.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"One main focus of the work in the first reporting period has been the implementation of the revised SPARC strategy and the development of the private side input to the Horizon 2020 work programme where a complete review of the domain and technology structure developed in the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) of 2013 was carried out. A Brokerage Day related to the robotics calls 2017 has been organized in December 2016 in Brussels, where participants had the opportunity to present project ideas to attract project partners with specific competencies.
Preliminary work regarding innovation support and review of funded proposals and technology transfer was carried out. The service robotics market has been monitored in relation to manufacturers, market evolution, innovations and technology trends. Results have been made available to the community as an extended summary. Potential market barriers were identified, mostly arising from the regulation for the product safety.In addition, several project partners have been involved in standardization activities.
It has been recognised that AI and Cognition tools cut across to a greater extent than originally identified in the SRA 2013. In addition, work has been done to investigate alignment with the broader AI community and to engage in the assessment of AI and Cognition within the broader DEI framework.

An Outreach Advisory Board (OAB) was formed and the first meeting was dedicated to identifying the most relevant topics: ""Robots, jobs and society"", ""Trust, ethics and security"", ""Liability, autonomy and the law"". For each of these three themes, Objectives, Target audiences, Campaigns and methods, Opportunities, Challenges and Quick wins have been identified and key messages for each theme phrased.
Effort was made to outreach to various stakeholders, including policy makers, end users, and the wider public. Several events took place, individual meetings as well as larger events, such as a high-level lunch and a panel session at the Knowledge4Innovation summit on 15 November, 2016. A major event series was the European Robotics week, which had over 800 individual events organized in throughout Europe.

Competitions are known to have significant impact on the development of systems. In the project, the European Robotics league (ERL) was formed and officially launched during the RoboCup in Leipzig, 2016. It consists of 3 leagues, Service Robots Industrial Robots, and Emergency Robots. The ERL aims to provide a platform for challenging, developing and showcasing robotics technologies, and engage not only with the robotics community, but also with industry and society and helps developing further the skills of the engineers of tomorrow. The “ERL Expert Forum on the Future of Robot Competitions” was organised in order to facilitate discussion on lessons learned and to propose strategies for future robotics competitions. One of the most innovative aspects of the ERL is the time and geographical distribution of tournaments over a year, leading to scores and standings which are the cumulative result of participation events. A split into “Local” and “Major” Tournaments is used in the ERL-Service Robots and ERL – Industrial Robots. Requirements for a portable ERL-Emergency Robots, and draft specification, have been developed.
In preparation for the ERL Emergency Robots 2017 major tournament, a summer school was held in Oulu, Finland, in August 2016, while a major tournament is planned for September 2017 in Piombino, Italy. For the ERL Service Robotics league, two local and a major tournament took place. For ERL Industrial Robots, one local and one tournament were held. Both major tournaments were co-located at the RoboCup in Leipzig in June/July 2016."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

A key goal of the project is to disseminate information to the European robotics community and carry out engagement activities with current and future stakeholders be they organisations, users or End Users. This is a primary focus for much of the project since the desired outcome is to deliver greater community engagement, higher levels of technology transfer and to engage End Users in market driven research and development. The creation of a closed loop between market pull and technology push resulting in market driven research is an important part of closing the innovation cycle and gearing up impact. Identifying technology transfer options and the needs of End Users together with the development of brokerage services will all contribute to increasing Industry-Academia cross fertilization and improving the link between End Users and innovation providers. The expansion of robotics into the domestic market is only just beginning. While the early applications of cleaning and lawn mowing are well established a wide number of potential application areas (such as assistive healthcare and aerial vehicles for security and surveillance applications) are still undeveloped. For longer term applications such as elderly care there are also significant social barriers to surmount. In many cases public awareness and perception are limiting factors in the market, and in terms of technology the lack of well-established supply chains and the lack of skilled engineers all have the potential to impact on growth in the domestic robotics sector. Therefore the prime objectives within this project of improving outreach, skills and innovation will have a significant impact on the potential for Europe to grow market share in domestic service robotics.

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