Milton Keynes, a fast-growing smart city in the UK, is set to host the Milton Keynes Smart City Robotics Competition in collaboration with the European Robotics League, centre:mk, and Milton Keynes Council. This international competition, taking place from September 18 to September 22, will bring together teams from universities, colleges, companies, and laboratories across Europe to showcase their robots’ capabilities in solving various challenges that support everyday human life.
The event aims to demonstrate the latest advancements in consumer-facing robot technology and highlight the ongoing challenges faced by robotics researchers as they strive to replicate basic human actions. Through this competition, the organisers hope to inspire the next generation and foster a positive perception of robotics as a force for good.
The European Robotics League, maintained by euRobotics, is an association that promotes robotics in industry and research. It was established through the SciRoc project, which is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. The Milton Keynes Smart City Robotics Competition follows the success of previous competitions under the SciRoc project, including a Smart City event in Milton Keynes in 2019 and Bologna, Italy in 2021.
The competition is open to the public, allowing visitors to witness the latest technology and witness the robots in action. This event aims to bridge the gap between robotics and society, showcasing how robots can support and enhance daily life while emphasizing the irreplaceable role of humans.
Kevin Duffy, Director of centre:mk, expressed excitement about how Milton Keynes, as a rapidly developing smart city, provides an ideal setting for this international competition. He emphasized the importance of innovation and collaboration in inspiring future generations to view robotics positively. Cllr Pete Marland, the leader of Milton Keynes City Council, sees this event as an opportunity to showcase the city’s talent and highlight its status as a forward-thinking smart city.
Reinhard Lafrenz, Secretary-General of euRobotics, commended the European Robotics League for bringing the competition to Milton Keynes, noting that Smart City MK will demonstrate how robots can significantly contribute to everyday life. Lafrenz acknowledged the difficulty in recreating simple human behavior using robots and expressed enthusiasm to see how the participating teams will showcase how robots will simplify people’s lives in the future.
This competition is part of the city’s broader focus on smart city initiatives, with plans to establish the first UK Smart City Experience Centre in Milton Keynes. Additionally, the UK government announced the first Global Safety Summit, to be hosted by Bletchley Park in Smart City, Milton Keynes, in November 2023. This summit will bring together international governments, leading AI companies, and research experts to discuss and advance the safety of AI technology.
To further explore the relationship between robotics and smart cities, a Smart City Robotics Panel Discussion will take place in Milton Keynes. This panel, consisting of industry and academic figures, will discuss the symbiotic relationship between robotics and smart cities, shedding light on the potential benefits that robotics can bring to urban environments.
Source: The European Robotics League, centre:mk, and Milton Keynes Council.