Predicting future needs and the technology needed to achieve those needs




FARMING - It used to be that farming employed almost all of the workforce in every country. Then mechanization came along. Check out the stats for the UK and USA to get a handle on where we are going as we head into the black abyss of the 22nd century.


UK STATS 2006 - In the UK there are approximately 300,000 active farms with an average size of around 57 hectares, much larger than the European average of approximately 20 hectares.

Despite the relatively large number of farms in the UK, the majority of the agricultural area is farmed by a much smaller number of farmers. Some 41,000 farms (~14% of the total) are larger than 100 hectares and account for over 65% of the agricultural area.

In 2006 UK farming employed workforce (full-time, part-time and casual employees) amounted to 184,000 persons. There were 152,000 full time farmers with a further 198,000 part-timer owners engaged in some capacity in the farm business. The total farming labour force of 534,000 in 2006 had been relatively stable over the previous five years but was down 80,000 on 1996 levels. Statistics in the USA paint a picture that is sure to follow around the world as robotic farming takes off.

We simply do not need 90% - 38% of our labour force to feed ourselves any longer and that means that jobs are no longer available. A sustainable society will comes to terms with this sooner rather than with riots later - as those without jobs are classed as social outcasts - but with the politicians hanging in there to the bitter end. Otherwise, stop promoting robotics - alternatively, educate the moronic ministers who have a job.

US STATISTICS 1790 to 1990 - 1790 - Total population: 3,929,214; farmers 90% of labor force; U.S. area settled extends westward on average of 255 miles; parts of the frontier cross the Appalachians

1840 - Total population: 17,069,453; farm population; 9,012,000 (est.); farmers 69% of labor force.

1880 - Total population: 50,155,783; farm population: 22,981,000 (est.); farmers 49% of labor force; Number of farms: 4,009,000; average acres: 134; Most humid land already settled; heavy agricultural settlement on the Great Plains begins

1900 - Total population: 75,994,266; farm population: 29,414,000 (est.); farmers 38% of labor force; Number of farms: 5,740,000; average acres: 147

1940 - Total population: 131,820,000; farm population: 30,840,000; farmers 18% of labor force; Number of farms: 6,102,000; average acres: 175.

1960 - Total population: 180,007,000; farm population: 15,635,000; farmers 8.3% of labor force; Number of farms: 3,711,000; average acres: 303.

1980 - Total population: 227,020,000; farm population: 6,051,000; farmers 3.4% of labor force; Number of farms: 2,439,510; average acres: 426.

1990 - Total population: 261,423,000; farm population: 2,987,552; farmers 2.6% of labor force; Number of farms: 2,143,150.




The UK's ability to develop and exploit the potential of robotics and autonomous systems is boosted with the launch of UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network. That is the claim.


The Network will bring together the UK's core academic capabilities in robotics innovation under national coordination for the first time and encourage academic and industry collaborations that will accelerate the development and adoption of robotics and autonomous systems. The aim is good, but what will actually happen, for example will this become another closed loop to fund academics who will jealously guard the research that the public are paying for, or will such public funded projects be open source.

The Network was to be unveiled at the Science Museum in London on June the 24th following a public lecture on Robot Ethics, organised by IET Robotics and Mechatronics Network in association with the Science Museum Lates and supported by the EPSRC UK-RAS Network.

The new network has already received strong support from major industrial partners, the Science Museum and the UK's major professional engineering bodies, including Royal Academy of Engineering, IET, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The Network will expand to include broader stakeholders including key national laboratories in the UK and leading international collaborators in both academia and industry. The global market for service and industrial robots is estimated to reach $59.5 billion by 2020.

Commenting on the launch, science minister, Jo Johnson said: "Robotics and autonomous systems have huge growth potential for the UK as one of our Eight Great Technologies. To get it right we need to draw on the expertise of the UK's research base and the ambition of industry. By working collaboratively, this network will only help to accelerate growth of a high-tech sector and pave the way for new high-value, skilled jobs - a win-win scenario for the UK."

The EPSRC UK-RAS Network is funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Network's mission is to provide academic leadership in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, expand collaboration with industry and integrate and coordinate activities at eight EPSRC-funded RAS dedicated facilities and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) across the UK.




23 NOVEMBER 2015 , NOC SOUTHAMPTON - Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, officially opened the Marine Robotics Innovation Centre on Monday. Addressing the leading figures in marine technology development, who attended the opening ceremony, Jo said: “I was honoured to open the new Marine Robotics Innovation Centre at the UK's world class National Oceanography Centre. The UK is leading the way in marine science and this new facility will help to put wind in the sails of our marine industry." The new centre will be a hub for businesses developing autonomous platforms with novel sensors, which can be used to cost-effectively capture data from the world's oceans.


Unfortunately, while we are advocates of robotic advancement in principle, this also means creating a two tier society comprised of academics with jobs and the man in the street who has other skill sets - but is not in the robotics club - but is till a human being. Hence, it might pay to lobby ministers with houses in the city and country, to create a fairer society. Otherwise, we will never have a Circular Economy, we will have Civil unrest at best. It is time to balance to books, to make robotics engineers with a conscience feel better. Not all people can afford to educate themselves, making the rich, richer and so discriminating against the poor. Policies that are unlawful according to the European Convention of Human Rights.



The founding network members are Imperial College London, Bristol Robotics Lab, University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, Loughborough University, University of Oxford, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University College London, and University of Warwick.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, director and co-founder of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery at Imperial College London and chairman of the UK-RAS Network commented: "Robotics and Autonomous Systems are set to play an increasing vital role in the growth of the UK economy across all sectors of industry, from transport and healthcare to manufacturing and unmanned systems.

"This dedicated network provides a focus for the UK's research and engineering excellence for the first time, ensuring that the UK can maintain its competitive edge in RAS innovation."

Kedar Pandya, head of the Engineering Theme for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, added: "Working with Innovate UK and other research council partners, EPSRC's mission is to support and invest in the world-leading research base that has earned the UK its deserved reputation for research excellence.

"Robotics and Autonomous Systems are one of the Eight Great Technologies in which the UK is set to be a global leader, and the technology being developed at these EPSRC-funded RAS facilities will deliver a significant impact on the research landscape, and attract the kind of industrial investment that will maximise the UK's stake in the worldwide robotics market."

The Network will organise a wide range of activities including network and strategic roadmap events such as the UK Robotics conference, symposia and focused workshops, public engagement and exhibitions. It will also have extensive online engagement activities using social media and web and user forums.

The Network aims to strengthen the relationship with industry by supporting interdisciplinary mobility and industrial secondment and developing proof-of-concept projects and running design challenges. There is also a strong emphasis on government policy and high-level engagement with international stakeholders.







The EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network) was established in March 2015 with the mission to provide academic leadership in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), expand collaboration with industry and integrate and coordinate activities at eight Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded RAS capital facilities and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) across the UK. The key focus covered by the Network includes transport, healthcare, manufacturing, unmanned systems for aerospace, marine, environment and defence, as well as underpinning technologies of RAS in sensing, actuation, perception, control, learning and adaption, human-robot interaction, and verification and validation. As the Network expands, it will also embrace other areas such as logistics and agriculture. 

The Network aims to bring together key research centres to establish a coherent face for the UK in RAS by building on their strengths and complementary capabilities, supported by significant industrial involvement. 





The Network is intended to be inclusive and we are keen to include board stakeholders in RAS. If your university or organisation might be interested in joining the Network, please contact UK-RAS at: and they will send you the expression of interest form.


Dr Helga E Laszlo - Network Manager

The Hamlyn Centre
Levels 4&5, Bessemer Building
South Kensington Campus
Imperial College London
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ


Nicky Denovan


Telephone: +44 (0)7747 017654




euRobotics AISBL
Diamant Building
Boulevard A. Reyers 80
1030 Brussels

Phone: +32 2 706 8198
Fax: + 32 2 706 8289








Special Interest Group


UK RAS-SIG - Robotics and Autonomous Systems Special Interest Group


Learned Societies:


IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

IET -The Institution of Engineering and Technology

IMechE - The Institution of Mechanical Engineers

The Royal Society

Royal Academy of Engineering

BARA - British Automation and Robot Association


Regional RAS Networks:


London Robotics Network

Northern Robotics Network

West of England Robotics Network


RAS Universities:


Heriot-Watt University

University of Edinburgh

Imperial College London

University of Warwick

University of Oxford

Loughborough University

University of Leeds

University College London

University of Glasgow

University of Southampton

University of Birmingham

Cranfield University

King's College London

University of Liverpool

University of Manchester

University of Nottingham

University of Plymouth

University of Surrey

University of Sussex


EPSRC Capital Equipment Facilities


ROBOTARIUM  Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (Heriot-Watt University and University of Edinburgh)

Sheffield Robotics (University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University)

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (University of the West of England and University of Bristol)

Hamlyn Centre for Medical Robotics (Imperial College London)

Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick)

EPSRC National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems (University of Leeds)

National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems, University of Leeds

Mobile Robotics, University of Oxford

Sheffield Centre for Robotics

University of Southampton

University College London


EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)


Embedded Intelligence (Loughborough University)

Oxford Mobile Robotics Group (University of Oxford)

Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (Heriot-Watt University and University of Edinburgh)

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (University of the West of England and University of Bristol)







In September 2010, experts drawn from the worlds of technology, industry, the arts, law and social sciences met at the joint EPSRC and AHRC Robotics Retreat to discuss robotics, its applications in the real world and the huge amount of promise it offers to benefit society.

Robots have left the research lab and are now in use all over the globe, in homes and in industry. We expect robots in the short, medium and long term to impact our lives at home, our experience in institutions, our national and our global economy, and possibly our global security.

However, the realities of robotics are still relatively little known to the public where science fiction and media images of robots have dominated. One of the aims of the meeting was to explore what steps should be taken to ensure that robotics research engages with the public to ensure this technology is integrated into our society to the maximum benefit of all of its citizens. As with all technological innovation, we need to try to ensure that robots are introduced from the beginning in a way that is likely to engage public trust and confidence; maximise the gains for the public and commerce; and proactively head off any potential unintended consequences.

Given their prominence it is impossible to address the governance of robotics without considering Asimov's famous three laws of robotics. (Asimov’s laws stated that a robot was not allowed to do anything that would harm a human being; that a robot should always obey a human; and that a robot should defend itself so long as this did not interfere with the first two rules.)

Although they provide a useful departure point for discussion Asimov's rules are fictional devices. They were not written to be used in real life and it would not be practical to do so, not least because they simply don't work in practice. (For example, how can a robot know all the possible ways a human might come to harm? How can a robot understand and obey all human orders, when even people get confused about what instructions mean?)

Asimov's stories also showed that even in a world of intelligent robots, his laws could always be evaded and loopholes found. But finally, and most importantly, Asimov's laws are inappropriate because they try to insist that robots behave in certain ways, as if they were people, when in real life, it is the humans who design and use the robots who must be the actual subjects of any law.

As we consider the ethical implications of having robots in our society, it becomes obvious that robots themselves are not where responsibility lies. Robots are simply tools of various kinds, albeit very special tools, and the responsibility of making sure they behave well must always lie with human beings.

Accordingly, rules for real robots, in real life, must be transformed into rules advising those who design, sell and use robots about how they should act. The meeting delegates devised such a set of "rules" with the aim of provoking a wider, more open discussion of the issues. They highlight the general principles of concern expressed by the Group with the intent that they could inform designers and users of robots in specific situations. These new rules for robotics (not robots) are outlined below.

The five ethical rules for robotics are intended as a living document. They are not intended as hard-and-fast laws, but rather to inform debate and for future reference. Obviously a great deal of thinking has been done around these issues and this document does not seek to undermine any of that work but to serve as a focal point for useful discussion.


The delegates of the workshop were:

Professor Margaret Boden, University of Sussex
Dr Joanna Bryson, University of Bath
Professor Darwin Caldwell, Italian Institute of Technology
Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn, University of Hertfordshire
Professor Lilian Edwards, University of Strathclyde
Dr Sarah Kember, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr Paul Newman, University of Oxford
Geoff Pegman, RU Robots Ltd
Professor Tom Rodden, University of Nottingham
Professor Tom Sorell, University of Birmingham
Professor Mick Wallis, University of Leeds
Dr Blay Whitby, University of Sussex
Professor Alan Winfield, UWE Bristol
Vivienne Parry (Chair)




The advent of Horizon 2020 and the crea:on of SPARC the robotics Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the European Commission and the robotics community, represented by euRobotics aisbl, provide an opportunity to reassess the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) published in 2009. This SRA reflects these developments, the underlying changes in the market, technical advances and the increased awareness of the potential offered by Robotics Technology.

The creation of SPARC changes the mechanisms for implementing strategy and for setting research priorities. The European Commission and euRobotics aisbl members have joint responsibility for setting and prioritizing R&D&I goals. The shift in emphasis in Horizon 2020 closer to market led activities and the establishment of instruments to support this must be reflected in the strategic emphasis of the robotics community.





euRobotics AISBL (Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif) is a Brussels based international non-profit association for all stakeholders in European robotics. euRobotics builds upon the success of the European Robotics Technology Platform (EUROP) and the academic network of EURON, and will not only continue the cooperation but will also strengthen the bond between members of these two community driven organisations. Thus, leading towards the establishment of only one sustainable organisation for the European robotics community as a whole. 

One of the association’s main missions is to collaborate with the European Commission (EC) to develop and implement a strategy and a roadmap for research, technological development and innovation in robotics, in view of the launch of the next framework program Horizon 2020. Towards this end, euRobotics AISBL was formed to engage from the private side in a contractual Public-Private Partnership, SPARC, with the European Union as the public side. 

The association has been nurtured by the partners of euRobotics, a Coordination Action funded by the EC under FP7 which started in 2010 and is ending in December 2012.







As the declining birth rate, aging society, and shrinking population of productive age advance, robot technologies possess the potential for solving social challenges, such as resolving labor shortages, releasing people from overwork, and improving productivity in a variety of sectors, ranging from production in the manufacturing industry, to medical services and nursing care, and to agriculture, construction and infrastructure maintenance e.g.

Considering these challenges, the revised 2014 Japan Revitalization Strategy, which was approved by the Cabinet in June 2014, mentions a “New Industrial Revolution Driven by Robots” (hereinafter referred to as the “Robot Revolution”) consisting of the utilization of robot technologies to improve Japan’s productivity, enhance companies’ earning power, and raise wages.

To achieve this Robot Revolution, in September 2014, the Government of Japan established a Robot Revolution Realization Council, bringing together experts who have a variety of knowledge as members, and the council held six meetings to discuss specific measures, including technology development, regulatory reforms, and global standardization of Japan’s robot technologies. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) hereby announces that the council compiled the results of the expert meetings into a report.

Based on the results of the discussions by the Council, the Government of Japan compiled a strategy and an action plan by sectors toward the realization of the Robot Revolution. The compiled report stated that Japan should achieve this Robot Revolution by promoting the following three pillars:

1. Fundamental enhancement of Japan’s robot-creation ability so as to make Japan as robot innovation hub in the world;


2. Utilization and dissemination of robots across Japan, namely, an effort for showcasing robots to the world, aiming to achieve a society with the highest level of robot utilization in the world and to realize the daily life that robots exist all over Japan;


3. Development of the Robot Revolution expecting its dissemination around the world, aiming to formulate business rules on the premise of interconnection among robots and autonomous accumulation and utilization of data by such robots, to globally standardize Japan’s robot technologies, and to disseminate such approach to broader fields.


The realization of co-robots acting in direct support of individuals and groups - Synopsis of Program:

The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside or cooperatively with people. Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots working in symbiotic relationships with human partners is supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The purpose of this program is the development of this next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. It will address the entire life cycle from fundamental research and development to manufacturing and deployment. Questions concerning a particular project's focus, direction and relevance to a participating funding organization should be addressed to that agency’s point of contact listed in section VIII of this solicitation.

Methods for the establishment and infusion of robotics in educational curricula and research to gain a better understanding of the long-term social, behavioral and economic implications of co-robots across all areas of human activity are important parts of this initiative. Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit and other organizations is strongly encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and technology development, deployment and use.

Only one class of proposals will be considered in response to this solicitation; there will not be separate competitions for small, medium, and large proposals. Please refer to section III of this solicitation for budget size information.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

Jeffrey C. Trinkle, CISE/IIS, telephone: 703-292-8327, email:
Ephraim P. Glinert, CISE/IIS, telephone: (703) 292-8930, email:
Jie Yang, CISE/IIS, telephone: (703) 292-4768, email:
Tatiana Korelsky, CISE/IIS, telephone: (703) 292-8930, email:
Mitra Basu, CISE/CCF, telephone: (703) 292-8910, email:
Ralph Wachter, CISE/CNS, telephone: (703) 292-8950, email:
Radhakishan Baheti, ENG/ECCS, telephone: (703) 292-8339, email:
Jordan M. Berg, ENG/CMMI, telephone: (703) 292-5365, email:
Alexander Leonessa, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-2678, email:
Frederick M. Kronz, SBE/OAD, telephone: (703) 292-7283, email:
John Krupczak, EHR/DUE, telephone: (703) 292-4647, email:





METI press 2015
NSF publications 2015

SPARC robotics

EU robotics project


DPA on the net EPSRC launches UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network




Dino the DinoBot


DINO - Is a DinoBot robot based on the giant prehistoric ants still living today in Australia, only smaller than some of their predecessors. We mean of course that the descendants are smaller than some of the insects found in Antarctica and other geographical locations. These are education DIY kits for student, lecturers, researchers, or anyone interested in robotic implementation with a penchant for programming or paintball.



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