Robotics & AI Companies – £16M Funding Now Available

innovation funding for robotics and AI

UK businesses involved in robotics and AI can secure up to £16M in funding across two competitions for technologies and systems designed for extreme and challenging environments.

Innovate UK has launched the Industrial Strategy Challenge innovation funding, available to robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in applications including deep mining, nuclear energy, space, and offshore energy. It aims to develop robotics technologies that can remove humans from dangerous working environments.

A briefing released by Innovate UK reads: “By developing new technologies and systems that can be deployed in extreme environments, this challenge will create a safer working world for people, as well as supporting advances in industry and public services to make them more productive.

“The Government will invest £93 million in this challenge area over the next 4 years.”

The first competition is the demonstrator programme, which is split into two phases. In the first, up to £6M is available to for projects that “stimulate the development of robotics and artificial intelligence demonstrators.” Phase two, held in 2018, will focus on experimental developments of fully-integrated systems that will be tested and demonstrated in realistic, extreme environments. Businesses that wish to take part in phase two must apply in phase one.

The second competition is for collaborative research and development (R&D), where businesses can apply for a share of £10M for R&D that results in “new and novel systems.”

Projects in this field should demonstrate a potential step-change in capabilities. Examples provided by Innovate include:

  • innovative materials or systems, for example, actuators, sensors and telecommunications
  • improved robotic capabilities, such as structural and radiation tolerance
  • improved machine vision systems
  • improved situational awareness, navigation, localisation and mapping
  • more energy-efficient devices and systems
  • miniaturised systems, for example, sensors, components and integrated sub-systems
  • systems engineering including verification and validation tools and methodologies
  • mission planning and risk management

In order to be considered for the demonstrator competition, projects should last up to 12 months and range in size up to total project costs of £500,000. The competition closes on 19 July 2017.

For the collaborative R&D innovation funding, projects should last up to 36 months and range in size up to total project costs of £2 million. The competition closes on 2 August 2017.

Applications for both competitions are now open.

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