EASST/4S 2020: Scaling robot demand through doing robotics in public
Presentation from 4S EASST 2020. Download PDF here.
Authors: Carlos Cuevas Garcia, Cian O’Donovan, Federica Pepponi
Scalability has been a key driver in research funding initiatives in the field of robotics. A widely spread assumption in this field suggests that for robotics to thrive it must create and keep adapting to an ever growing market. Attempts to create this market can be noted in the diversification of areas of application for complex robot technologies, for example industrial robots, healthcare, home-care and elderly care robots, delivery robots, emergency and rescue robots, inspection and maintenance robots, and so on. The better fit between these robots and grand societal challenges such as aging, food security or sustainability, the better.
Yet, in almost no such situation can we see state of the art robots implemented in practice.
In this presentation we examine strategies through which different actors in the field of robotics intend to scale-up the research, development and implementation of robots in the areas of infrastructure inspection and maintenance, and healthcare.
In this paper we do not start with an assumption of what is or isn’t an effective strategy to scale-up robots’ use, but examine the practices and discursive arrangements through which this scalability is expected to happen. We draw on interviews and on observations of conferences, workshops and final evaluations of European Commission funded projects.