Businesses and researchers have been invited by InnovateUK to apply for attendance at a five-day innovation lab on making work spaces safer using robotics and AI.
Successful proposals emanating from the lab can apply for a portion of a £15 million fund to develop their ideas further.
The aim, as the publicly funded R&D body puts it, is to: “Develop technologies and systems that take people out of the inspection, maintenance and repair of infrastructure in extreme environments and make unmanned operations the standard approach”.
The competition will operate in two stages, beginning with the five-day innovation lab. The innovation lab aims to bring together not just businesses, but is actively seeking; ”individuals that can contribute constructively and enthusiastically.”
Some of the topics which will be covered in the innovation lab are robotic structural capabilities, AI, autonomy and situational awareness to name but a few.
The aim at the end of the five days is for each team to have a proposal they can submit to get a share of the £15 million grant funding that is available.
Previous projects to take part in the Robots for a safer world fund; have seen innovation in the way we assess damage and maintenance requirements of off shore wind turbines and has led to innovation in the way we collect data from the sea floor.
Natural Environment Research Council chief Executive, Professor Duncan Wingham commented: ”The projects will develop ambitious new technologies that work in hazardous and extreme environments, maintaining the UK’s world-class status in marine robotics. Other industries, such as the water, aquaculture and industrial waste, are also likely to benefit.”
Perceptual Robotics, use an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to inspect off shore wind turbines in safety and at a lower cost. Their drone Dhalion can see cracks in the structure and identify lightning strikes.
Due to the location of these turbines, located in open seas, any inspection work comes with an inbuilt risk which Perceptual Robotics hopes to fully negate with its UAV technology.
Only those who have attended the first stage of the challenge are eligible to apply for a grant. All proposal must have a ”focus on infrastructure in areas such as off-shore energy, nuclear energy, mining and space” according to the announcement.