New Robotics Roadmap presented to congress

Roadmap summarizes the strategic importance of robotics and automation technologies to manufacturing industries in the U.S. economy.

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A new Roadmap for U.S. Robotics was presented to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics on March 20. The new Robotics roadmap, organized by the Robotics Virtual Organization, includes updates to the sections on manufacturing, healthcare/medical robotics, and services. In addition it has two new sections on defense and space applications in recognition of the important role that space and defense robotics has both to R&D but also as early adopters.

The roadmap summarizes the strategic importance of robotics and automation technologies to manufacturing industries in the U.S. economy, describes applications where robotics and automation technologies will dramatically increase productivity, and outlines a visionary research and development roadmap with key research areas for immediate investment to reach these goals. In addition to images of military drones, self-driving cars and Mars rovers, the report features images of Symbotic AGVs, Kiva Systems’ autonomous mobile robots, and Seegrid’s robotic industrial lift trucks.

Henrik Christensen, KUKA Chair of Robotics at the College of Computing Georgia Institute of Technology and one of the original co-authors of the CCC-led report, gave an overview of the roadmap in its second iteration. He noted that there was a 44 percent increase in the sale of manufacturing robotics in the US in 2011. Christensen spoke of the need for robotics in military action, disaster response, medical and rehabilitation settings, and personal robotics for an aging and disabled population. Three additional speakers were Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics, Pete Wurman of Kiva Systems, and Russ Angold of Ekso Bionics.

The new report is a follow-up to the CCC-sponsored roadmap that was published in May 2009 and presented to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics on May 21, 2009. That roadmap subsequently led to the creation of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) in 2011, which is jointly sponsored by NSF, USDA, NASA, and NIH.


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