Home Bots in Society European Commission’s Lucilla Sioli Discusses Strategy for AI-Powered Robotics at ERF

European Commission’s Lucilla Sioli Discusses Strategy for AI-Powered Robotics at ERF

by Marco van der Hoeven

Lucilla Sioli, Director for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Industry within the European Commission, this morning addressed the European Robotics Forum. Sioli, unable to attend in person due to parliamentary duties related to the AI Act, emphasized Europe’s strategic approach towards artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

Europe’s scientific prowess in robotics spans numerous areas, including cognition, human-robot cooperation, and underwater robotics. Sioli pointed out the necessity of leveraging these strengths to further enhance the continent’s robotics sector. She stressed the impact of AI-powered autonomous robots across diverse industries such as healthcare, energy, and agriculture, highlighting the European Commission’s commitment to developing a thriving ecosystem of robotics research labs and companies.

The Commission’s investment surpasses the initial commitment of 1 billion euros per year, channeled through initiatives like Horizon Europe and Digital Europe. This funding, combined with efforts to mobilize member states and private sector investment, is geared towards propelling the sector’s advancement. A new public-private partnership focusing on AI, data, and robotics has been established, aiming to foster a long-term, comprehensive strategy in the field.

Supporting infrastructure such as AI centers of excellence, digital innovation hubs, and testing facilities have been developed to bolster research and assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in integrating robotics and AI technologies. These facilities are aiding companies across sectors, including agri-food and smart cities.

Sioli highlighted the transformative potential of recent AI advancements, particularly generative AI models. These innovations are expected to significantly impact technology development, given their rapid adoption and impressive performance. In response, the European Commission has unveiled an AI innovation package to encourage the development and application of generative AI within the EU.

This package aims to enhance the availability of resources for AI startups, address investment needs, and attract global talent. It involves providing access to supercomputers, federating data spaces, and supporting skill development through AI factories. A major focus is the promotion of generative AI across various strategic industrial ecosystems, including robotics.

Sioli underscored the transformative impact of generative AI on the robotics field, with the potential to revolutionize robot design, development, and deployment. The Commission’s initiative is set to foster novel applications in robotics and healthcare, among other sectors, enhancing the adaptability and efficiency of robots.

Concluding her address, Sioli invited the forum’s participants to join a new group focused on developing a technological roadmap for generative AI. This initiative represents a significant step towards progress in AI and robotics, underscoring Europe’s ambition to lead in trustworthy AI technologies and smart robotics. The European Commission’s dedication to leveraging AI and robotics innovation aligns with its broader goal of maintaining Europe’s competitive edge in the global AI race, while upholding European values and fostering innovation and progress.

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