Robotics in a sustainable world: accelerating or hindering?

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The rECOver group focuses on identifying and developing robotics as a sustainable technology and their potential contribution to a more sustainable world while identifying and working to overcome the social and economic implications associated with their integration by closing the gap between domestic and international policymakers and industrial partners.

The rECOver group comprises of a unique combination of cross discipline researchers including scientists, lawyers, sociologists and engineers.

This ‘Collider Event’ at the National Robotarium in Edinburgh, will bring together these sectors into a multidisciplinary group of experts to engage in discussions that will identify and draw out key principles and issues that should be addressed when using robotics for sustainability and focus on questions such as:

•Robotics in a sustainable world: are they accelerating or hindering the objectives?

•Can the increased use of robotics for sustainable mining affect the critical material supply?

•How does the contribution of robotic technology affect the transition to a circular economy?

•How can potential negative socio-economic or political impacts of robotics use be mitigated?

Robotic technology is increasingly being used to drive us to a more sustainable world, for example, in the offshore wind sector. However, whether and how robotics themselves can be made more sustainable – socially and environmentally – is emerging as an issue of debate. The development and use of these robots require coherent interdisciplinary analysis suitable to understanding their potential socioeconomic and environmental downsides and to create better regulatory approaches to incentivize innovation while avoiding negative externalities.

Initially, rECOver is seeking to initiate conversation and collaboration among scientists, engineers, policymakers and social scientists to analyse the use of robotics in mineral acquisition for and recycling of sustainable or ‘green’ technologies by combining both techno-economic and socio-political analysis.