TELEGRAPH STEM AWARDS SEMI-FINALIST

Background: 

This exponential rate of technological advancement within recent decades has drastically altered UK industry. Despite this, the UK remains somewhat behind its global counterparts in terms of automation, with the number of robots per employee below the the global average. 

 

Why is the UK lagging behind its global competitors with regard to industrial automation? And what can be done to accelerate a successful transition to an increasingly automated industrial base in the UK?

Challenge: 

Demonstrate a way of increasing the efficiency of industrial processes through the use of robotics, with the wider goal of increasing the rate of automation in the UK.

Insight:

Idea:

1) There are misconceptions surrounding  automation and how it will affect UK industry and society.

2) There are fears that automation will lead to a displaced work force and mass unemployment. 

 

3) Current policies surrounding industrial automation focus on investing in the technology itself, rather than providing routes to alternative employment.

 

4) There is resistance to automation in some parts of industry.

To provide a sustainable route to a globally dominant robotics sector in the UK. Automation anxiety can be offset by a co-operative initiative that gives workers a personal stake in robotics. This community-led approach could go some way towards mitigating job losses and reduce resistance towards industry automation. Under this initiative, workers whose existing jobs are threatened by the introduction of automation would be offered two things:

 

1. Shares in companies operating in the automation sector.

 

2. Apprenticeships or re-training in areas that complement future industrial needs.

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The above presentation was presented to SEMTA’s executives at the IMechE in London and featured in the Sunday Telegraph. A copy of the full concept can be provided on request.