Robotics and AI get £93m in Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

Written by PublicTechnology on 24 April 2017 in News
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Business secretary Greg Clark announces spending breakdown for first areas to receive investment through the fund

Greg Clark made the funding announcement last week - Photo credit: PA

The business secretary Greg Clark has announced that robotics and artificial intelligence will receive £93m as part of the government’s £1bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The fund, which was created in the 2015 Spending Review, aims to boost productivity by investing in areas that will bring in innovative companies to specific sectors in the UK.

The areas of focus for the fund were announced in the 2017 Spring Budget, but the government has now revealed how cash much each strand will receive.


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Among the first areas to receive the funding is robotics and artificial intelligence, with a £93m investment to be spread over four years.

The aim is to develop systems that can be deployed in extreme environments, such as in off-shore or nuclear energy production and space and deep mining.  

Clark also confirmed that the government would invest £38m in collaborative R&D programmes for driverless cars, as well as working with industry to develop next generation AI and control systems for the technology.

Other areas to receive funding in the scheme are clean and flexible energy, with £246m to develop low carbon technologies; manufacturing and future materials for the aerospace and automotive sectors, which will be a £26m fund; and a £99m fund for satellites and space technology.

The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, has already chosen 35 projects that will receive a share of the first £10m awarded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, including a project to develop Snake-arm robots for use in the nuclear and aerospace industries.

The government published its Industrial Strategy in January this year, and a consultation on the green paper closed earlier this month.

The government said in the announcement of the challenge fund that the white paper would be published “later in the year”, but the strategy’s future is likely to depend on the results of the June general election.

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