In the newsletter we enable each of the Directors of euRobotics in turn to offer a personal perspective, whether it’s on their specialism within robotics, on the role they play for euRobotics, the future as they see it, or all of this combined. It’s their choice and your chance to get to know how they see things. This month you can hear from four more Directors.

Antidio Viguria

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) is a very dynamic industry that has growth exponentially in the last 15 years. However, the current autonomy level of these vehicles is low, and I believe that in the next years this will increase to achieve the necessary levels of safety and efficiency for the deployment of added value services that will differentiate the European drone industry with respect to others.

Europe has right now one of the most advanced regulations worldwide that even allows the operation of fully autonomous UAS under the Specific category. Also, this European UAS regulation has created a common market for the European Union that facilitates the operation of UAS in different European countries. Then, I truly think that it is a great opportunity to apply novel robotics technologies in added value UAS products and services that will not only benefit European citizens, but it could also be exported worldwide.

euRobotics is working towards these objectives, and I would like to contribute increasing its position as a reference in European aerial robotics and putting in contact the UAS community with the robotics one, which will be essential for the future of the European aerial robotics industry. I am confident that robotics and UAS communities have a lot to gain if they work together, benefiting from each other.

Dr. Antidio Viguria Jiménez, CTO Avionics & Systems at FADA-CATEC

Rich Walker

The 21st century has brought phenomenal disruptive technologies, innovations and breakthroughs within Robotics, AI and Big Data, and Europe needs to determine how we’ll take this forward in a way that’s ethical, beneficial and fair to all – SME’s and researchers included. Through strategic planning and investments, Europe should achieve AI sovereignty and reduce our dependency on non-European hardware and software so that we can have control over our practices and data rights to make Europe better, not just wealthier. Developing Robotics, AI and Big Data with strong European values at the core will set the tone for European social norms. It allows other countries trading in Europe to respect and follow our ethical, technological and security standards, and it may even inspire their own. Government support is critical here and it should be obvious how SME’s and researchers can benefit too not just large corporations. A focus on strengthening the collaboration between industry and academia is also advantageous as it enables more sustainable growth.

Rich Walker, Director at euRobotics, Adra asbl and Managing Director at Shadow Robot

José Saenz

The role of robotics in society is growing, as technological developments are making robots more capable of executing meaningful work beyond repetitive actions on the assembly line. Personally, this means my responsibility as an engineer and researcher is also growing, as

developments we’ve dreamed up in the lab are making their way into industry and the public space. As a European by choice, I strongly identify with the social values that make our continent a bit different from our neighbors in the West and in the East, and I appreciate that European robotics considers the effects of its research agenda on human well-being and safety. This shapes my work, which focuses on robotics solutions that are safe for humans to work with and generally relieve people of dangerous work.

I’ve been involved in euRobotics since its inception and I’m excited about the organization that we’ve become. I particularly enjoy the interactions with the community at the Topic Group level and I will continue to remain active in the discussions between industry and research so we can dream about what the future of robotics can look like and push it in meaningful directions.

Dr. José Saenz, Leader of the Assistance Service and Industrial Robotics Group within the Business Unit Robotic Systems at Fraunhofer IFF

Werner Kraus

“Service robotics, with its wide range of applications in private and commercial environments, is gaining more and more visibility and weight in the robotics market. Meanwhile, we have more than 1,000 service robot suppliers worldwide. Facts that excite and motivate me to push it further. Because I am firmly convinced that robotics and service robotics in particular will help us to master social challenges such as demographic change, the shortage of skilled workers, or the need for greater sustainability.

Which trends does the market currently show? Autonomous mobile robots are on the rise because they enable flexible automation solutions in production, logistics, and services which is needed to master the rising online retail turnover. Due to Covid-19, the market for cleaning and disinfection robots has undergone a major transformation. More than 50 new companies are getting into the mix.

Where is the journey likely to go? I see platforms and virtual marketplaces as key drivers for efficiently developing service robot applications. On a technical level, safety, security, and privacy are becoming increasingly important. This is because service robots often operate in public, dynamic, and unstructured environments and interact with people who have no special robotics knowledge. It is therefore all the more important that they offer the highest level of machine safety while at the same time protecting user data.”

Dr. Werner Kraus, head of department robot and assistive systems at Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, vice chair of the IFR Service Robot Group, research board member of euRobotics