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The development of robotics can have an important role in efforts to achieve the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—with both enabling and inhibiting impacts.
During a workshop at the 2021 IEEE/Robotics Society of Japan International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2021), organized in Prague, Czech Republic, from September 27 until October 1, 2021, experts from various disciplines analyzed the role of robotics in achieving the SDGs.
Dr. Bhavani Rao, Director of the Research centers AMMACHI Labs (Amrita Multi Modal Applications and Human Computer Interaction), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, participated in this cross sectoral discussion on “The Role of Robotics in Achieving the UN SDGs”, along with experts from other areas of the world, including Vincent Mai, Bram Vanderborght, Carl-Maria Mörch, Tamas Haidegger, and Alaa Khamis.
During the workshop panels, the variety of roles that robots can play in enabling the SDGs was underlined. The panelists discussed the challenges to the adoption of robots and to their deployment at their full potential. The probable undesirable effects of robots were also considered, and the panelists suggested approaches to correctly design SDG relevant robotic solutions. Governance frameworks were also discussed, with respect to their contents as well as the challenges to build them. The role of military funding was briefly analyzed. Finally, several proposals for actions and policies were made. The contents of the workshop, including contributing papers and videos from the panelists, as well as additional information about future initiatives regarding robotics and the SDGs, are available at www.sustainablerobotics.org.
A paper was later published by the panelists and main contributors on the same topic in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine.
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