The Robotics Flagship aims to develop robots and artificial intelligence that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable: this is the project proposal submitted to the European Commission (EC), that by 2020 will have chosen the flagships that will receive one billion euros over ten years to guarantee Europe a leading position in science and technology. The Robotics Flagship brings together over 800 European participants, and has broad international support including 370 endorsements from around the world. The project is led by an international team, involving Cecilia Laschi from the SSSA-Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, and Barbara Mazzolai from the IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. The six finalist projects will be announced by the EC on December 4th in Vienna, during the ICT2018 conference, and will receive funding for a year of preparatory scientific activities.
The project coordination group is composed of: Cecilia Laschi of the SSSA-Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Italy), Barbara Mazzolai of the IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italy), Tamim Asfour of the KIT- Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (Germany) , Dario Floreano of the EPFL (Switzerland), Stefano Stramigioli of University of Twente (Netherlands), Jean-Paul Laumond of LAAS-CNRS (France), Sabine Hauert of the University of Bristol (UK).
The Robotics Flagship originates from the question: where are all the robots that were promised? Although impressive technological advances have been made, a long-term and structured development plan, where science, economy and society are contemplated as a whole is needed to make breakthroughs in the real-world. The Robotics Flagship aims to combine scientific and technological aspects with social, cultural and economic ones. Science, technology and society should co-evolve in a new way.
The project's main goals revolve around 3 pillars: 1) the identification of new materials, technological approaches and biological principles important to make the robots adapt to people and the environment in which they operate, with bodies of variable shapes, able to grow, learn, deform and find their own energy; 2) the study of new models of socio-economic and legislative systems able to take advantage of a widespread use of robots; 3) the development of robots with low environmental impact, reducing growing e-waste through the study of recyclable materials and renewable energy solutions to power robots.
The project will contribute to the affirmation of a new paradigm in robotics, where AI, big data, mathematics, materials and biology participate in a single and coherent vision, to build adaptable machines, with learning, collaborative and effective skills.
Europe is ideally placed to deliver on these goals. It already plays a leading role in sectors such as robotics, automation, mechatronics and digital manufacturing and has the highest number of robotics companies, start-ups, and publications in the world. The Robotics Flagship aims to capitalize on these skills present in the most advanced research laboratories and industries in Europe.
During its implementation, the Robotics Flagship aims to periodically validate its objectives and results, listening to the needs of the scientific community, and especially of European citizens.
The Future and Emerging Technology (FET) Flagship projects are visionary research initiatives funded by the European Commission, which tackle major scientific and technological challenges. They are long-term initiatives that bring together excellent research teams in various disciplines, sharing a unifying goal and an ambitious research roadmap on how to achieve it. The projects currently funded are Graphene Flagship and Human Brain Project.