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Rise of the Machines

Press Release   •   Feb 14, 2017 10:55 GMT

SAMS engineer Shane Rodwell uses a custom-built Remotely Piloted Aircraft, known as a quadcopter, to measure and photograph glaciers in the polar region. Picture credit: SAMS.

Scotland’s role in the future of robotics and autonomous systems, estimated to have an annual worldwide economic impact of up $4.5 trillion by 2025*, will be put in the spotlight by VisitScotland Business Events.

INNOVATEROBOTICS will examine the future of computer-human interaction, the opportunities for unmanned research in our natural environment and how the robots of the future might work alongside us.

The event, to be held at the Fairmont, St Andrews, on 16 February, is part of the INNOVATETHENATION programme created by the national tourism organisation’s Business Events team.

The talk series, launched last year, provides a networking opportunity for academics and the business events sector, whilst celebrating Scotland’s vast innovation legacy and developing it for the future.

Scotland is a world-renowned robotics hub which leads the way in deep sea exploration, works alongside NASA in developing Mars mission robots, and could be home to Europe’s first space port.

The talk comes just a month before 600 engineers, entrepreneurs and business people from across the globe descend on Edinburgh for the European Robotics Forum, considered the most influential meeting of the European robotics community – highlighting Scotland as a leading country in robotics development and research.

The forum, which is supported by the VisitScotland National Conference Bid Fund, will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from 22 to 24 March.

The speakers at INNOVATEROBOTICS are:

  • Dr Kasim Terzic, Teaching Fellow at the University of St Andrews in the School of Computer science, has published extensively on visual scene understanding, a field of research central to the ability of robots to understand and communicate about the world surrounding them.
  • Dr Phillip Anderson, Head of Marine Technology at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) has developed a number of techniques to probe the winter-time polar atmosphere, including low-power autonomous remote systems at the surface and kite, blimp and rocket instrument platforms aloft.
  • Dr Oli Mival of Edinburgh Napier University is an internationally recognised expert in the areas of Human Computer Interaction, User Experience and Interaction Design. He is the designer and originator of both the ICE (Interactive Collaborator Environment) and Sensorium Studio.

It is estimated* that by 2025 advanced robotic and autonomous systems could have a worldwide economic impact of $1.7 trillion to $4.5 trillion annually, with an emerging market value of €15.5 billion. ABI Research** forecasts that worldwide industrial robot shipments will exhibit an average year-over-year growth rate of 16 per cent by 2021.

Rory Archibald, Business Development Manager for VisitScotland Business Events said:

“Robotics is an exciting sector for Scotland, showcasing our innovation centres and excellence in research and manufacture.

“INNOVATEROBOTICS will shine a light on some of the outstanding developments being pioneered here in Scotland, both in our labs and in our seas.

“Our INNOVATETHENATION programme provides an opportunity for local experts and industry champions to network for future collaboration, to help bring the best business events to Scotland and boost its profile on the world stage.”

Dr Kasim Terzic said:

Intelligent Robotics has always captured human imagination, and recent developments such as smart assistants, autonomous cars and service robots have begun to fundamentally transform our everyday lives.

“With its strong tradition in Robotics and education, Scotland is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of these developments. The INNOVATEROBOTICS event will be an excellent way to learn about current research and forge new connections for specialists and the general public alike."

Dr Phil Anderson, Head of Technology Development at SAMS, said:

“As in other areas of research, Scotland certainly punches above its weight in terms of robotics and technology and our expertise allows us to be part of international collaborations.

“However, there is always room for improvement and we are looking to the next generation of scientists and engineers to ensure that the country continues to progress in emerging technologies.

“Events such as INNOVATEROBOTICS helps to showcase what we can do now and what we have the potential to do. I am looking forward to being a part of this exciting initiative and sharing the work being done at SAMS.”

Jane McGee, director of sales and marketing at Fairmont St Andrews added:

“We are delighted to be hosting INNOVATEROBOTICS, as a growing technology hub Scotland is being recognised as the leader in this industry.

“Not only is St Andrews a hugely inspiring destination, the seclusion and privacy on offer will hopefully engage new audiences across the country and allow for a hugely successful and constructive event.”

As well as celebrating Scotland’s global reputation as a knowledge economy, INNOVATETHENATION will demonstrate the importance of Business Events to innovation, research, industry and highlight where ‘ambassadors’ can help influence bringing these events to Scotland. Business events represent around a quarter of all tourism expenditure in Scotland.

The first event, INNOVATEMARINE, featured Dr Raeanne Miller from the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban, who was the only Scottish-based scientist to take part in a unique all-female international expedition to Antarctica.

INNOVATEROBOTICS will take place on 16 February from 6pm to 9pm inFairmont St Andrews.

To register for free tickets go to

For more on the European Robotics Forum go to

- ENDS -



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