The UK government has launched a new research programme to examine the feasibility of trustworthy autonomous systems.
The £34m (€39.43m) programme will bring together scientists and researchers from multiple sectors, along with members of the public, to determine the most pressing challenges to the widespread adoption of robotic and autonomous systems. The programme, to be funded through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund and delivered on behalf of UKRI by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will explore ways to deliver trustworthy autonomous systems through optimisation of cybersecurity measures; as well as considering ethical and legal constraints.
Professor Charlotte Deane, Deputy Executive Chair of the EPSRC, said: “There is no doubt that autonomous systems have huge potential to be transformative but in order for society to use and benefit from them, we need to be able to trust them. This important investment announced today will address key challenges around their development such as safety, security and reliability so they can be adopted effectively across society and industrial sectors.”
The launch of the research into trustworthy autonomous systems follows investment by the government in CHIRON, a prototype robotics project designed to support elderly patients and those with disabilities with mobility assistance and the completion of basic tasks. The project, based at the University of Bristol, is currently focusing research into determining the safety and trustworthiness of the robot.
Praminda Caleb-Solly, Professor of Assistive Robotics at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, said: “Assistive robots can provide essential support for those who need help carrying out everyday tasks, so they can maintain their independence for as long as possible. But making sure we can trust these robots by reducing the risks associated with this technology is essential. Unlocking their full potential means they could assist with anything from physiotherapy, to assistance for older people with mobility issues, improving people’s quality of life significantly.”