Teams to compete live in Europe’s major robotics competition at Milton Keynes shopping centre this week

    The European Robotics League and partners centre:mk and Milton Keynes Council have come together to commission the Milton Keynes Smart City Robotics Competition.

    Taking place in centre:mk from Monday 18 – Friday 22 September, the international competition will see teams from universities, colleges, companies and laboratories across Europe compete to inspire the next generation.

    The teams are tasked with showcasing how their robots are able to solve a range of challenges, designed to support everyday human life.

    The event will showcase the latest developments in consumer-facing robot technology, and illustrate how some of the most basic human actions continue to challenge some of the most advanced robotic minds in Europe.

    The European Robotics League is maintained by euRobotics, the European robotics association for industry and research. It was set up by the SciRoc project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. The Milton Keynes Smart City Robotics Competition builds on the success of previous competitions under the SciRoc project, including a Smart City event in Milton Keynes in 2019 and Bologna, Italy in 2021.

    Members of the public are invited to come and attend this ground-breaking free event, where visitors can experience the latest in technology and view the robots in action and at the same time inspire the next generation.

    Kevin Duffy, Director of centre:mk, commented: “As one of the UK's fastest-growing Smart Cities, Milton Keynes serves as an ideal backdrop for this international event. Innovation and collaboration sit at the heart of this competition, which we hope, will inspire future generations to think of robotics as a positive force for good.  Whilst robots are able to help humans build a more efficient future, they are no replacement for people - and never will be but they can support and aid our society making it a more accessible and efficient place for all.”

    Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, Cllr Pete Marland said: “International events like this give us the chance to showcase local talent and demonstrate to the world that we’re a modern, forward-thinking smart city with endless opportunities. We’re really excited to be a host city and look forward to showing industry experts the cutting-edge research and development taking place in MK.”

    Reinhard Lafrenz, Secretary-General of euRobotics, commented: “We are very pleased to see the European Robotics League (ERL) in action in Milton Keynes. ERL competitions highlight some of the most vibrant fields in robotics, especially Smart Cities. By staging the Smart City MK event, the city of Milton Keynes and all the event participants and partners are helping to bring robotics and citizens together. Smart City MK will show some of the ways that robots can contribute to everyday life. As we say, robots are capable of performing many tasks but one of the hardest things to recreate is simple human behaviour. Let’s see how the teams perform in MK to demonstrate the way robots will simplify people’s lives in the future!”

    The competition forms part of the centre and the city’s smart city focus with the city looking to host the first UK Smart City Experience Centre later in the year which can currently be found internationally in New York, Singapore, Cairo and Seoul.

    The first Global Safety Summit was also announced by the UK government in August 2023, to be hosted by Bletchley Park in Smart City, Milton Keynes, on 1st and 2nd November.

    This major global event will bring together international governments, leading AI companies and experts in research for crucial talks that will explore and build consensus on international action in the hope of advancing the safety of AI technology.

    A Smart City Robotics Panel Discussion comprised of leading industry and academic figures will also come together at Milton Keynes’ Unity Place from 6pm – 8pm on 20th September. Chaired by Professor Phil Webb of Cranfield University, the panellists will provide their insight and experience on the symbiotic relationship between robotics and smart cities.

    For more information, visit the website.

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