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Innovate UK launches Northern Robotics Network

Innovate UK has launched Northern Robotics Network (NRN) in Manchester. The idea behind the network is to grow the robotics and autonomous systems sector in the North West by bringing together academia and industry.

NRN will work with partner organisations at national level and encourage investment to grow innovative supply chain skills in the region. The network will also identify ways in which the northern RAS community can help drive the future of robotics in the UK by building on the recent UK strategy for Robotics and Autonomous Systems, RAS2020.

However, the network goes beyond the realm of manufacturing robots and also takes in drones and UAVs. Launched in July 2014, the UK strategy said that “there are clearly identifiable hot spots where RAS capability can impact on vertical sectors including aerospace, agriculture, automotive, energy, health, manufacturing, marine, nuclear and transport.”

NRN has said that its vision is to “reinforce a RAS ecosystem in the UK that will develop skills and allow ideas and innovation to be created and tested in the market place, ahead of international competitors”.

At the moment, the older UK robotics industrial network, the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Special Interest Group, has been running since 2013 and will run until the end of 2015.

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