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Robotics education should be compulsory in schools

21 June 2019

Robotics education should be made part of the school curriculum, according to a fifth of UK adults polled to mark the official start of UK Robotics Week (20-27 June).

20% of a representative sample of UK adults want compulsory lessons to be given in the nation’s schools so that children can fully engage with learning about robotics technology. A quarter (25%) of respondents also say that they are now starting to see the benefits of using robotics in their daily lives.

The research was commissioned by the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network to mark the start of the 4th annual UK Robotics Week, which returns this week for a spectacular celebration of robotics and autonomous systems innovation, and is boosted by the recent award of a further three-year grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to the organising EPSRC UK-RAS Network. 

With robotics continuing to inspire stories across popular culture, the survey also reports that 1 in 5 (20%) people would love to see the ‘Iron Man’-style suit in real life, when polled about which robotic developments from films they would love to see. 

In the wider context, the British public feel increased use of robotics would most directly benefit industries such as manufacturing (38%), military and defence (28%), construction (25%) as well as the medical sector (25%).

Other key findings highlighted in the research include:

• Almost a fifth (18%) of survey respondents said they believe that using robotics is essential for our society and that we need to depend on them more.
• Over a third of UK adults (34%) believe that robots will take over boring, repetitive jobs allowing humans to do more interesting, fulfilling work.
• Over 1 in 5 (23%) Brits would like to learn more about the robotics industry and its developments.

Commenting on the survey findings, Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, Chair of the EPSRC UK-RAS Network, said: “We are really pleased to see this range of positive public attitudes in relation to robotics technology, especially with regard to the desire for a key educational focus in this area. We launched UK Robotics Week to provide a focus for showcasing the UK’s innovation strengths in this increasingly vital sector, and to stimulate a national discussion about robotics and its developing role in our society. We hope to engage and inspire many more people to explore robotics technology during this week’s activities, culminating in our much-anticipated International Robotics Showcase.” 

UK Robotics Week 2019 is highlighting a wide programme of events nationwide, spanning competitions and challenges to public lectures, open days, symposia, hackathons and workshops. The centrepiece of UK Robotics Week will be the International Robotics Showcase, being hosted on Thursday 27 June at the Royal Geographical Society in London. This highlight one-day exhibition and conference will feature live demonstrations of the latest robotic technologies, the winners of this year’s Surgical and Manufacturing Robotics Challenges, plus a full conference programme hosting talks by world-renowned technologists and experts exploring cutting-edge advances in nuclear robotics, offshore robotics, future AI and robotics for space and much more.

For full information about all the activities planned for UK Robotics Week, please visit the website: https://www.ukras.org/robotics-week and follow UK Robotics Week on Twitter (@ukrobotics, #UKRoboticsWeek #UKRW19).


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