A third of people in the UK are open to using robots, survey says

A survey made ahead of the UK Festival of Robotics found a full 30 per cent of UK adult respondents would be open to trialling the use of robots for everyday tasks.

A new national survey commissioned by the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network has shed light on the UK population's current attitude towards robotics technology.

The research revealed many Brits are still unsure about what exactly constitutes a 'robot', and the potential ways in which the technology could aid our everyday lives.

“This year’s survey has uncovered some quite surprising responses about what people consider to be robots and robotic technology, and raises some really interesting questions about our relationship to this technology as it develops,” said EPSRC UK-RAS network chair Professor Robert Richardson.

Robots are defined as automated machines that can successfully execute specific tasks with little or no human intervention.

When asked to name a type of robot, 41 per cent of survey respondents correctly listed an automatic hoover, with 40 per cent identifying a drone. However, many respondents also named devices that cannot be considered robotic, such as smart TVs (20 per cent) and smart speakers (39 per cent).

Overall, a third of respondents said they would be open to trialling robots that had the potential to make day-to-day life easier, with 28 per cent of people saying that robots are already an occasional part of their everyday routines.

In addition, 17 per cent of those polled believe that the use of robots could help to cut down on energy use, while 14 per cent consider that the integration of robots will be a positive move for the environment.

The survey has been published ahead of the UK Festival of Robotics, taking place between 18 and 24 June. The event is a national showcase of UK innovation in robotics, automation and intelligent systems. Topics covered in the events are expected to range from self-driving cars and driverless trains to space robots, smart drones, robotics for extreme environments and much more.

Robots are increasingly being integrated into society, with Singapore making use of this technology to address the skills shortage the country is facing. From robot chefs to robotic paramedics and barbers, the applications might seem endless. Even the royal family is embracing this technology, with the Queen receiving a portrait painted by a robot artist as part of her Jubilee celebrations. 

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