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ROBOTT-NET - A shared infrastructure to sustainably optimise technology transfer throughout Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ROBOTT-NET (ROBOTT-NET - A shared infrastructure to sustainably optimise technology transfer throughout Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The main issue being addressed by ROBOTT-NET is getting promising new technologies over the “valley of death”. Many excellent ideas get partially developed but never make it onto the market, despite having good commercial potential. ROBOTT-NET tackles some of the causes of new ideas and technologies getting stuck. These causes are particularly acute for SMEs but also affect larger companies.
Sometimes the short-term risks are seen as too high -- lack of finance and lack of confidence in attracting finance are major problems for SMEs. ROBOTT-NET is designed to alleviate these obstacles by helping companies to develop formal business cases and teaching personnel how to communicate with financiers.
Often people do not have sufficient knowledge of the modern technologies already available and their capabilities. They have neither the time or the digital skills to find the best match for their needs. This means that they may miss an opportunity to build their technology into an optimal system, or don’t know how to fabricate their product efficiently, or hadn’t thought of integrating it with existing systems. ROBOTT-NET brings company personnel into contact with experts in creating optimal systems including a wide range of existing technologies, opening their eyes to wider possibilities.
Thirdly, internationalization is hampered by the need to negotiate the business side of each collaboration separately, the lack of agreed cost models, and non-standardized mechanisms. This results each country or organization performing its own research and innovation, which is inefficient. ROBOTT-NET includes pre-agreed systems for transferring knowledge and expertise between partners, creating standardized templates for pan-European innovation.

Accelerating the path to market of new robot technologies will increase Europe's market share in both industrial and professional service robotics, creating product fabrication jobs. Installing European-standard robotic automation instead of national-standard automation at end-user sites helping companies to optimize their production by introducing and developing novel robotic solutions will contribute substantially to increasing the competitiveness of Europe's manufacturing sector, creating more jobs through increased productivity and prosperity.

The main objective of the ROBOTT-NET initiative is to create a sustainable European infrastructure to support novel robotic technologies on their path to market. Our concept is to build technology transfer RTOs (Research and Technology Organizations) into an international network, exploiting them as one-stop shops for technological and commercial expertise. ROBOTT-NET will verify the best approaches to such collaboration and obtain experience to propel the concept further. During ROBOTT-NET we establish cooperation between four major European technology transfer organizations (Danish Technological Institute, Fraunhofer IPA, MTC and Tecnalia), developing standardized systems for supporting innovation and standardized systems for paying for different types of knowledge transfer. We test and demonstrate our infrastructure by using it on real cases.
ROBOTT-NET directly supports the development of 64 new robotic technologies or systems: for new products, we provide business case analysis, digital skills training, individual roadmaps for their path to market; for new robotic automation, we provide designs, business case analysis, and mock-ups. Further stages of development will be offered for some of these including installing state-of-the-art robotic technologies in eight complete pilot systems.
From the beginning of ROBOTT-NET to the end of the second reporting period (from Jan 2016 to June 2018), many activities have been completed:

- 166 business opportunities have been identified and attracked to apply to ROBOTT-NET Voucher program.
- 67 promising business cases were granted Voucher projects of which 62 projects were successfully completed.
- 58 robot developers and end users across Europe were matched into 24 consortiums, each of which submitted a Pilot application.
- 8 Pilots were selected and allocated a total of 192 PMs from them ROBOTT-NET partner RTOs. Additionally, each Pilot consortium were allocated up to 150.000 €.
- A launch video released in M3 explained the concept of ROBOTT-NET and advertised the Open Labs. This video was placed on social media and run during presentations of ROBOTT-NET at events such as ERF and as part of partner normal business. We can document that the launch video has reached over 10,000 views.
- A total of 117 ROBOTT-NET videos has been produced and published through various social media channels. These videos have totaled 107.000 views on YouTube and countless views/impressions through Twitter and LinkedIn (the total number cannot be extracted).
- Created a LinkedIn page with more than 800 followers and a Twitter account with more than 1000 followers.
- More than 30 commercial follow-up projects were borne out of ROBOTT-NET activities. These have been generated from either unaccepted Voucher applications, granted Vouchers that are continued or companies who became interested in our technologies at ROBOTT-NET events.
- Hosted eight training courses teaching over 200 interested customers about robotics. This way we showed the attendees what is possible with robotics and encouraged them to realize their own business ideas.
- Organised 24 open labs and showed interested people our labs, technologies and what we do. This way we reached over 4000 people and gave them a hint of what is possible with robotics.
Just the interaction between partners resulting from ROBOTT-NET elements e.g. the visits accompanying Open Labs has already increased innovation support between partners and increased our knowledge of each other’s competences and the capabilities of their ongoing projects. This knowledge will help us to choose the correct partners for future collaborations, both innovation/research and commercial. The tools, services, training courses, mechanisms and techniques for technology transfer to be developed during the project will make it easier to formally use the expertise available at the other sites. This contributes to the overall objective of creating a pan-European infrastructure to support the development of new robotics, by providing formal mechanisms for technology transfer between member states, and reduces the amount of duplicated research and innovation in partner organizations.
All Voucher applications were evaluated as having good potential for commercial success and therefore societal impact in terms of jobs as well as whatever service/product their particular product/automation provides. The project chose ten categories including manufacturing, HRI, perception, healthcare, … and asked applicants to tick all boxes that applied. All ten categories are represented in the 67 vouchers selected, meaning that ROBOTT-NET voucher work will have impact within all these domains.
ROBOTT-NET considers all great ideas within the field of robotics, also the small start-ups
ROBOTT-NET hosts Open Labs to empower end-users to effectively adopt and use robots
ROBOTT-NET The project behind the human behind the robot
ROBOTT-NET aims to empower end-users to effectively adopt and use robotics
ROBOTT-NET facilitates training and knowledge sharing within robotics
ROBOTT-NET promotes state-of-the-art industrial and professional service robots to end-users