The UK government has supplied £34million in funding to aid the development of care robots and improved user-friendly technology.
The investment is being provided by the government´s Strategic Priorities Fund and is being delivered by UK Research and Innovation. The funding has launched the UK´s biggest research programme with a sole focus to make autonomous systems safe and trustworthy for public use.
Autonomous systems are currently being built across industries to solve challenges, keep data secure and define rules to make effective decisions. But for them to be utilised by people they need to be altered so that they´re completely safe for users.
Currently, over 12 million people in the UK are aged 65 and over and this research programme is aiming to help the demographic by looking into robots that could potentially provide the social care sector with more support.
These upgraded systems could develop robots that would be able to assist the elderly in critical situations such as being helped up after a fall, raising an alarm, delivering food at mealtimes and giving reminders for medication.
The entire project will consist of research into the robot´s design, ensuring they´re protected against cyber-attacks and can showcase respect, fairness and equality so they can ultimately be used in care homes and hospitals.
The developments will provide developers, policymakers and regulators with access to world-leading experts, the latest information and guidelines around technology. Eventually, it could pave the way for robots to work alongside professionals to help with workloads and alleviate stress.
This announcement comes after previous government investment in a Bristol-based project already created a robot prototype named CHIRON which has been designed to support older generations with mobility and other ageing-related impairments.
Science minister, Chris Skidmore, said: “A staggering one in seven people in the UK are now expected to be over 75 years old by 2040. As our society ages, most of us will have to care for a loved one, whether it’s a grandparent or a parent or a partner.”
He added: “It’s vital that we meet the needs of this ageing society, and through cutting edge research like this we will ensure that as technology advances, the UK leads the way in designing and adopting it, growing our status as a global science superpower.”