Marie Bjerre, the Danish Minister for Digital Government and Gender Equality, was the first keynote speaker at the European Robotics Forum held in Odense, Denmark. In her speech, the minister highlighted the rapid pace of technological advancement and the crucial role played by the robotics and artificial intelligence industries in transforming the way we live and work.
Unlike other robotics industries that have developed as a result of manufacturing industries, the Danish robotics industry has emerged from a strong research tradition, a wealth of ideas, and the ability to constantly renew itself. The Danish robotic cluster is also a result of hard work and a great tradition led by steel work done in Danish shipyards combined with a booming startup environment.
The minister went on to describe how the closure of one of the most traditional business ventures, the Maersk shipyard , paved the way for the strong and innovative robotics industry in Denmark. Heavy-duty welding robots were replaced by light and flexible robots, which fit into modern production facilities.
She emphasized the opportunities that robotics and AI hold must be utilized to address the great social challenges facing society. The minister sees technology and digitalization as a main solution to some of these challenges, and stressed the need for businesses to be able to test and demonstrate innovative technology solutions in a safe environment. She also announced the launch of the European test and experimentation facilities for AI, in which Denmark is participating with a focus on manufacturing and robotics.
The complete network will be a 220 million euro investment in the ability to test and validate AI and robotics, ultimately leading to market opportunities throughout Europe. There will also be a 7 million euro investment in the Danish aquatic sector, cementing strong collaboration with European partners in the field.
Robotics has the potential to contribute to a better society through higher productivity, said a speaker at a recent conference. She emphasized that through effective use of technology, important issues such as labor shortages can be addressed, better working conditions for staff can be created, and the quality of services for citizens can be raised.
Bjerre noted that the development and implementation of robotics and new technologies are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, it is essential to bring technologies into use in businesses and in the public sector to create value through digitalization.
Businesses that have invested in robotics have experienced significant increases in turnover and productivity. She also emphasized that while the use of robotics had mainly been of interest to industrial companies in the past, today there are many different types of robots, both physical and software, which can be used in a much more flexible way, even by small and medium-sized companies.
She announced that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would be able to apply for support for their future implementation of robotics in October. This is part of a national program for supporting SMEs’ digital transformation, which will launch a brand new call for applications focusing on robotics.
The speaker also highlighted how robotics can create a more efficient public sector that is better able to overcome major challenges, such as an increasing demand for healthcare services. To that end, a cross-sector partnership has been established. The partnership’s 10-year plan for new technology and automation aims to address labor shortages using digital software solutions and to free up to 10,000 persons in the public sector over the next decade.
In conclusion, Bjerre expressed hopes that businesses and the public sector would continue to increase their use of robotics and raise their ambitions even higher. She also expressed her hope that the curiosity and innovative way of working in the robotics cluster would continue and intensify, while she would do her best to ensure the best possible conditions.
Photocredits: Anni Norddahl