The Pro-Robot project aims at a socio-economic analysis of the emerging area of humanoid robots. This analysis should contribute to define a European research road map which is expected to become an ever increasing importance within the next years. According to the traditionally interdisciplinary character of robotics, the project mainly addresses the specific objective of the current proposal for the 6th framework on "research in emerging areas of knowledge and on future technologies". The analysis will be based on a cost-benefit model comprising of the layers: social benefit, usability, technical viability, feasibility, and exploitability. Significant barriers should be identified which may motivate specific R&D or support activities.
The ProRobot study on humanoid robots is now available and includes the following results:
Complete State-of-the-Art overview, Future predictions for all significant technology fields Identification of promising application fields for humanoid robots, Scenario analysis for the future market development Identification of social obstacles and problems, Comparison of geographic differences, Complete roadmap for the future development, Presentation of technological support priorities, Discussion of economic support strategies Implementation of the web site to disseminate the project results Implementation of a web directory for humanoid robot resources As an overall conclusion, the project is rather optimistic for the future development in the field of humanoid robots.
An early market introduction in the field of entertainment robots is expected, and is assumed to be a success especially in the Asian region. With more and more service abilities acquired by the robots, the usage of humanoid robots will become beneficial even in less robot-enthusiastic regions, where non-humanoid service robots might be introduced prior to the humanoid ones. However, many already proposed applications will need much more time, as the technical development will be slowed down by the development of general-purpose artificial intelligence. In the end, a stable and growing market can be expected for humanoid robots. This development might be further advanced by unforeseen technical breakthroughs or non-predictable market hypes in the future.
Funding SchemeACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures