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UK govt commits £93Mn for robotics, AI, and an additional £38Mn for driverless cars

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Business Secretary Greg Clark has launched the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) committing to invest more than £1 billion in cutting-edge technologies for next four years. It aims to create employment opportunities and raise the living standards of the citizens.

The government has also increased investment in research and development by £4.7 billion over the next 4 years. The extra £2 billion per year by 2020 to 2021 is the highest increase in total government R&D investment since records began in 1979.

The funding from ISCF will be utilized mainly across 6 key areas – healthcare and medicine, robotics and artificial intelligence
batteries for clean and flexible energy storage, self-driving vehicles, manufacturing and materials of the future, satellites and space technology over the next 4 years. The government aims to accelerate progress and innovation that will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said,

As we leave the EU, we are determined to help Britain’s innovators compete with the best and seize the opportunities ahead, and this money will help advance our position as a global leader in developing cutting-edge technologies.

The size of investments committed for a period of next four years in various areas are:

  • Robotics and AI – The government aims to make industry and public services more productive, by developing AI and robotics systems that can be deployed in extreme environments which occur in off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining. A sum of £93 million will be deployed in the coming years.
  • Where technology and health sector meets: An investment of £197 million has been committed to developing first-of-a-kind technologies for the manufacture of medicines. The motive behind this is to speed up patient access to new drugs and treatments, building on the exporting strengths of the UK’s biopharmaceutical sector.
  • Clean and flexible energy:  Or as the government puts it – the ‘Faraday Challenge’. UK government will infuse £246 million to help local businesses avail the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. It aims to ensure that the nation leads the world in the design, development, and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles.
  • Driverless technology: Autonomous vehicles has been the latest development that has been attracting the attention of various firms and governments. The sector is predicted to be worth a whopping £63 billion by 2035. The government wants to it to maintain its reputation as a world-leader in driverless car technology, and hence, has committed £38 million in new collaborative research and development project. It will collaborate with industry partners to “develop the next generation of AI and control systems need to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the driverless cars revolution.”

The government has been associating with several businesses and academics to identify core industrial challenges, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of the future in which the UK can become world-leading.

Photo credits: Cris Isherwood

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