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Will using robots for infrastructure be good or bad for urban wildlife?

Sep 14 2018

The grand challenge for Self-Repairing Cities is to used robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) to achieve zero streetworks by 2050. But how will using RAS for infrastructure monitoring and maintenance impact on our urban environment? Will it be good or bad for our urban wildlife and ecosystems.

This question is vitally important if we are to develop RAS solutions for infrastructure that also deliver environmental benefits and avoid unintended negative consequences for our urban wildlife and habitats.

To address this, we have now launched a horizon-scanning survey and are looking for those with expertise in this area to help us try and identify ways in which the emergence of RAS could affect urban biodiversity and/or ecosystem structure/function.

In particular, we are looking for academics and practitioners with expertise in urban ecology, green infrastructure, urban planning, smart cities and RAS to complete the survey. However, we welcome responses from anyone who feels they may be able to contribute.

The horizon scan will be conducted over three rounds and these will be completed by mid-December 2018. In the first round, you will be asked to identify some opportunities and threats associated with robotics and autonomous systems – this will take less than 10 minutes. In rounds two and three, you will review the opportunities and threats suggested by other participants and then score the final list according to their importance.

The first round of the survey can be found here and the deadline for completion is Friday 28th September.

To read more about our work on the ecological and social implications of using robotics and autonomous systems for infrastructure, please see our recent mid-term report.

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