Last week saw robotics teams from several European countries converge to Central Milton Keynes to take part in the First ERL Smart CIty RObotic Challenge (the SciRoc challenge). The event, which was organised by KMi’s ISDS team, was held at centre:mk from 18 to 21 September. The aim of SciRoc, an EU-funded project comprising 10 partners from 6 EU countries, is to bring robotics competitions in the context of smart cities. Given this goal, it was a natural choice to hold the first of these international competitions in Milton Keynes, an innovative city at the leading edge of smart city developments. The selection of KMi as the host organization was also a natural one, recognizing the level of excellence in the lab, which includes world-class expertise in both smart cities and robotics.
This was the first time that an international robotics competition of this kind was held in a public space and the event proved to be extremely successful, attracting a large audience as well as radio and television crews. About 500K people visit centre:mk on average every week and indeed the goal of the SciRoc Challenge was not only to stage an elite international robotics competition, but also to provide an important public engagement opportunity, allowing members of the public, including many children, to get very close to robots performing everyday tasks, such as serving in a coffee shop, taking an elevator, opening a door, and others.
In addition to the core organization team, comprising Enrico Motta, Gianluca Bardaro, Ian Pulford, Agnese Chiatti, Enrico Daga and Jason Carvalho, many other KMi-ers were involved in the event, as assistant referees or volunteers.
A big thank you and congratulations to all of them for making SciRoc such as successful event!