The European Robotics Forum, the largest Robot industry and academia gathering in the EU, was held this year at Odense, Denmark. Delegates heard a renewed commitment to Robotic R&D from the European Commission. Khalil Rouhana, director for digital content and cognitive systems in DG INFSO in the European Commission, told the 350 delegates that Horizon 2020, a projected €80 billion research fund which is planned for the period from 2014 to 2020, will be one of the largest research and innovation budgets in the world. "Successful economies are those that are able to keep their industrial base modernised", said Rouhana. "Robots are the mainstream technology of the future - in our everyday life, in business and in industry. Industry and academic collaboration is vital because we need to bring research into practice if European economies are to benefit. This is an investment in the future that will boost the competitiveness of our economies and meet societal challenges."
Bernd Liepert, president of EUROP and chief technical officer at Kuka AG heralded the second European Robotics Week, which will be held in the week commencing 26th November 2012. "Last year, the week featured 350 robotics events across 19 countries and 80,000 people participated. Our vision is to achieve a higher quality of life for everyone through robotics." Liepert welcomed the platform the Forum gives the robotics community to come together to discuss the latest developments.
The Forum was held over three days, 5th-7th March and the broad theme was "towards new horizons", as the roboticists began preparations for Horizon 2020. The burgeoning field of service robotics was the subject of several workshops and presentations.