CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD PROVE ‘TIPPING POINT’ FOR ROBOTS LOOKING AFTER HUMANS, SCIENTISTS AND EXPERTS SAY

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The development of robots to save lives and reduce human exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak could lead to a new era of robotic human helpers, researchers have said.

Robotics professor Henrik Christensen from the University of California San Diego, was among a group of leading experts who outlined how robots could be used to combat the coronavirus pandemic by doing the “dull, dirty and dangerous” jobs.

“Already, we have seen robots being deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls,” the scientists wrote in an editorial in the journal Science Robotics.

“Opportunities lie in intelligent navigation and detection of high-risk, high-touch areas, combined with other preventative measures. New generations of large, small, micro, and swarm robots that are able to continuously work and clean could be developed.”

The researchers suggested Covid-19 could drive sustained research in robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and drones to address the risks of infectious diseases and potentially provide the “tipping point” for how organisations operate in the future.

“Without a sustainable approach to research and evaluation, history will repeat itself, and technology robots will not be ready to assist for the next incident,” they wrote.

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