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Increased robotics capabilities demonstrated in key sectors (AI, Data and Robotics Partnership) (IA)

Proposals are expected to focus on application oriented use cases that enhance specific sectors in achieving significant improvements in functional and application performance.

Proposals will integrate novel robotics technologies into solutions that are capable of autonomously taking over dangerous, dull and dirty jobs, or that are capable of achieving tasks beyond human capabilities, in a range of innovative applications in key sectors or that are capable of reaching the level of reactivity, flexibility and adaptivity and natural intelligibility required for smooth and beneficial human-robot, as well as robot-robot collaboration and interaction. Engagement with SSH[[Social Sciences and Humanities]] expertise is needed to improve human robot interaction design, behavioural intelligibility of robot interaction and action, especially in novel service applications, and to provide expertise on trustworthiness and acceptability by humans that impact at the design stage.

This topic will support innovation proposals, expected to exploit the latest robotics advances and demonstrate at TRL6-7 use-case scenarios considering end-user needs and expectations, in highly realistic operating environments, how they can directly contribute to the chosen application, supported by quantitative and qualitative industry or service related KPIs. Proposals need to make the case for the added value of such technologies, and demonstrating scalability, and short-term deployment potential. Progress should be demonstrated by appropriate KPIs, demonstrators, benchmarking and progress monitoring.

The proposals should be primarily application driven, with a concrete problem-solving approach, exploiting the most suitable robotics technologies at hand. The focus should be on real-world scenarios which can benefit in short term from the technology and demonstrate substantial impact on the chosen application, also taking into account the maturity of the technologies which can solve the problems at hand.

In case of shared workspaces, safe, dependable efficient and intuitive interaction will be key.

Considering that human factors and socio-economic aspects can limit or lessen efficient use of robots, human-centred and socio-economic approaches in combination with multi-stakeholder co-design activities can contribute to sustainable development of new enabling technologies. Putting people at the forefront will ensure novel transformation pathways, which help utilise existing technology in novel ways, and propose feedback loop systems that engage human users in developing new sociotechnical learning situations and tools. Further, agile sociotechnical learning designs, can remedy e.g. less efficient technologies, by emphasizing human aspects of technologies in any application sector, from service to production, to domestic use. For this, an interdisciplinary approach involving both technical and SSH[[Social Sciences and Humanities]], in particular ethics, researchers is needed to improve interaction design and to provide expertise on trustworthiness and acceptability by workers, and address gender equality and intersectionality[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality - intersectional aspects could cover gender, age, social level, education, ethnic origin, etc.]] where relevant.

The involvement of the user industry and the workers, possibly also the social partners, would be key to drive the proposals, not only to identify the needs and the application scenarios, but to be involved in the testing of the solutions and providing feedback to adapt the solutions to optimise the working conditions and performances. This is also essential for the acceptance of the technology. A human-centred approach will be key in all proposals, with deep involvement of the workers, professionals and other relevant stakeholders including experts in human-centred design, work safety, ergonomics, social partners or work organisation as appropriate. They will closely collaborate with the technology providers and integrators. The proposals should also take into consideration trustworthy AI principles including respect of human dignity and agency. Special attention will be given to including users of diverse age, gender and background.

Proposals are requested to dedicate at least 20% of their requested amount for FSTP to support SMEs or Start-ups in the development or enhancement of demonstrators, with a maximum of EUR 200 000 per third party[[Maximum amount per third party, received from a given Action, over its entire duration]], and 70% of the costs (100% for start-ups). The consortium will provide technical support with expertise in engineering integration, testing and validation to support the selected SMEs and start-ups acting as technology providers to demonstrate the added value of their solutions to address the challenges of the use-cases.

The selection of the application sectors should prioritise high impact sectors and use-cases where the technology can demonstrate maximum added value.

Each proposal will focus on one of the following use-cases:

  • Demonstrating substantial added value of robotics in major application sectors with high socio-economic and/or environmental potential impact, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of processes or services.
  • Demonstrating how robotics can improve human working conditions and satisfaction in taking over dangerous, dull, dirty or strenuous tasks, keeping workers away from unsafe and unhealthy jobs.

Proposals are encouraged, where appropriate, to develop configuration and deployment tools as well as tools for rapid configuration and re-configuration of robotics to improve deployability, reduce time to deployment, increase user driven (re)configuration, including through model-based approaches.

When possible, proposals should build on and reuse public results from relevant previous funded actions. Proposals should make use of connections to the Digital Innovation Hub networks, particularly those in Robotics, Data and AI. Full use should be made of the common resources available in the AI-on-Demand platform[[Initiated under the AI4EU project https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/825619 and further developed in projects resulting from H2020-ICT-49-2020 call]], Digital Industrial Platform for Robotics[[https://robmosys.eu/newsrobmosys-rosin-towards-an-eu-digital-industrial-platform-for-robotics/]], data platforms[[E.g.: https://www.big-data-europe.eu/]] and, if necessary other relevant digital resource platforms. Communicable results from projects should be delivered to the most relevant of these platforms so as to enhance the European AI, Data and Robotics ecosystem through the sharing of results and best practice.

Proposals are expected to develop synergies with relevant activities in AI, Data and Robotics, primarily in destinations 1, 3, 4 and 6, but also in other destinations and clusters, and share or exploit results with relevant funded actions where appropriate.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on AI, Data and Robotics.

All proposals are expected to allocate tasks to cohesion activities with the PPP on AI, Data and Robotics and funded actions related to this partnership, including the CSA HORIZON-CL4-2021-HUMAN-01-02. Where relevant, synergies with other PPPs are encouraged.