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Robots help academics to map out the planet’s biodiversity

Synthotech has partnered with a team of leading researchers and experts to support a groundbreaking study that could see robots deployed to monitor the state of Earth’s biodiversity.

The researchers consulted with more than 100 international experts, ecologists, and engineers working in biodiversity and robotics to evaluate the potential of robotics and automated systems (RAS) that could extend the scope of terrestrial biodiversity monitoring across habitats globally.


Engineering business Synthotech develops advanced AI capable robots currently used to detect harmful leaks and fix pipes, which are all designed, developed and manufactured in the UK. The robots can be deployed remotely for long distances, which speeds up the investigation process to aid safety and reduce environmental impact.

Using its robotics expertise, the company is supporting critical biodiversity research, to explore the challenges and understand where robots could be applied for ecosystem monitoring to support biodiversity conservation.

The project has enabled the research team to draw up a roadmap of the monitoring barriers that should be easiest to overcome and give new capabilities in conservation.

Simon Langdale, engineering director at Synthotech, said: ‘Ecologists are increasingly calling on the help of robotics and automated systems (RAS) experts to monitor the state of global biodiversity. The project shows just how crucial robotics can be in helping to monitor the planet's biodiversity so that measures can be put forward for protection and preservation. It is a real privilege that our work in robotics could help support biodiversity sustainability.’

The paper published to the RAS-UK network outlined a number of recommendations to inform future biodiversity strategies. It calls for the creation and funding of an integrated multidisciplinary task force, including academics and industry specialists with expertise in RAS and biodiversity, to support technological research and development.

Additionally, future UK funding should be prioritised for the developments needed to tailor these capabilities to monitoring biodiversity. New and emerging technologies need to be increased and accelerated research and development funding to turn robotics concepts into enhanced systems suited to the hardest monitoring barriers that ecologists encounter.

Simon concluded, ‘We are fortunate in the UK to have particular strengths in biodiversity research and robotics. We are also in an ideal position to integrate these strengths and become a leading force in the development and application of RAS systems. The valuable role that robotics technology and AI have to offer cannot be underestimated in this sphere.’

Synthotech's advanced AI capable robots are used to detect harmful leaks

and fix pipes.



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