EC - Horizon 2020 logo

System abilities, SME & benchmarking actions, safety certification - ICT-27-2017
Deadline: 25 Apr 2017   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono EC - Horizon 2020

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Innovation
 Social Innovation
 Environment
 Health Care
 Waste Management
 Smart Cities
 Robotics
 Transport
 Horizon2020
 Research

Specific Challenge:

Technology capabilities alone are not sufficient to enable future markets development. Robotic technology and systems must be designed, integrated and deployed along functional lines and match much more closely to SME and to general market needs.

Research into promising system abilities such as configurability, adaptability, motion, manipulation, decisional autonomy, dependability, interaction, perception and cognitive ability will play a key role here, as mentioned above.

A key challenge is to revitalise Europe's robot-making capacity.Whilst SMEs are generally regarded as the backbone of EU industry, they are under-contributing to the robotics industry. There is a requirement to stimulate SMEs in the robotics sector to develop novel and innovative technology that has the potential to open new markets.

Underlying these requirements, is a market-driven need for benchmarks as clear markers of progress for any developer, whether SME or large industry. Benchmarking processes that provide consistency and value to the process of technology validation are lacking currently. Developing benchmarks that can be applied across multiple domains or areas of application allowing technical comparison is a priority.

A further underlying need for the robotics community at large is to ensure the safety and security of their developments. Viable safety certification standards and processes (including testing protocols) are critical to the widespread deployment of robotic systems, but are not yet generally available. Such certification processes should cut across different domains and areas of application and need to be developed on a pan-European basis, but with global impact.

Also the take up of robotics systems by public authorities is a challenge, as there are few if any generalised schemes for public procurement. Smart cities will provide a range of different applications where robotics technology may be able to provide opportunities for enhancing the utilisation of existing general infrastructure, ensuring higher levels of service delivery and addressing demographic change.

Scope:

a. Research and Innovation Actions on system abilities.

RIAs will focus on advancing the state of the art in the level of smart robotics system abilities. The focus is on the technical challenges; research actions will address cross cutting technology issues that will make a significant contribution to the needs of applications and domains with the highest impact on markets. Proposals are expected to address at least one or a combination of the following prioritised abilities: perception ability which is immune to natural variation (e.g. changing weather conditions); decisional autonomy; increasing dependability levels to the level of graceful degradation; systems that are able to self-verify correct behaviour in safety critical tasks.

The Commission considers that System ability proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 4 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. At least one action will be supported for system abilities.

b. Research and Innovation Actions for SME-based research and for benchmarks:

Proposals should cover one of the following bullet points:

  • This activity will stimulate SMEs in the robotics sector to develop novel and challenging technology and systems applicable to new markets. Proposals should provide SMEs with access to technical and non-technical support services and technology that are relevant to the new market being addressed. Such services should provide SMEs, who are not necessarily in the original consortium, with facilities to carry out their research more efficiently and may include access to specialised development facilities or technology. Proposals should also identify how they will enable SMEs to access stakeholders in new markets. Proposals addressing extended clinical validation for healthcare are specifically excluded.

The action may involve financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes. The consortium will define the selection process of additional users and suppliers for which financial support will be granted (typically in the order of EUR 50.000 – 200.000[[In line with Article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the amounts referred to in Article 137 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, and if this is the case proposals should explain why this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the action.]] per party). Minimum 50% of the EU funding requested by the proposal should be allocated to the purpose of financial support to third parties.[[It is recommended to also use established networks reaching out to SMEs like the Enterprise Europe Network and the NCP network for calls publications and awareness raising towards SME's.]]

  • Development and implementation of robotics application-relevant benchmarks and metrics to assess progress in technologies and systems. These actions should provide qualitative and quantitative information to support the assessment and development of systems addressing step changes and ability levels; they should also help define benchmarks and metrics which are useful to an end user.

The action may involve financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes. The consortium will define the selection process of additional users and suppliers for which financial support will be granted (typically in the order of EUR 50.000 – 100.000[[In line with Article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the amounts referred to in Article 137 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, and if this is the case proposals should explain why this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the action.]] per party). Minimum 60% of the EU funding requested by the proposal should be allocated to the purpose of financial support to third parties.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 and 8 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. At least one action will be supported for each of these two bullets (SME-based research and benchmarking).

c. Innovation Actions on shared facilities for safety certification:

Development of testing protocols for shared space cooperative and collaborative systems leading to viable safety certification standards. Proposals must cover a range of domains and applications where safety certification is a market barrier. Potential examples include healthcare and elderly or handicapped care applications, infrastructure maintenance, transport and logistics. The development of common approaches and tools is strongly encouraged.

Proposals are expected to not only devise protocols but to carry out realistic trials to validate them. Proposals are also expected to show how the protocols they devise can match the requirements of relevant standards and regulations or inform the creation of new standards and regulations.

The action may involve financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes. The consortium will define the selection process of additional users and suppliers for which financial support will be granted (typically in the order of EUR 50.000 – 100.000[[In line with Article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the amounts referred to in Article 137 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, and if this is the case proposals should explain why this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the action.]] per party). Minimum 50% of the EU funding requested by the proposal should be allocated to the purpose of financial support to third parties.[[It is recommended to also use established networks reaching out to SMEs like the Enterprise Europe Network and the NCP network for calls publications and awareness raising towards SME's.]]

The Commission considers that Safety certification related proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 6 and 11 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

d. Pre-commercial Procurement Actions:

Demand-driven PCP actions will be pursued in the area of smart cities. Actions will aim at but not be limited to one or several of the following topics: waste management, transport (with focus on smart mobility), the provision of city-wide utilities and services, the provision of healthcare, social care and education (including social innovation). Actions will be expected to show how the PCP instrument and procurers will be mobilised to develop new robotics related solutions in a smart cities context.

The Commission considers that PCP proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 and 7 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

The expected impacts for the RIA in system abilities are:

  • Verifiable increase in the level of system abilities of value in the targeted application domains, in particular improving the innovativeness, robustness and longevity of operations of robots deployed in challenging environments
  • Significant improvements in the technologies or their combination, underlying the chosen system abilities.

The expected impacts for the RIA on SMEs & benchmarks are:

  • Contribute to overall growth of SMEs targeting new robotics markets
  • SMEs conducting and utilising research to access new markets
  • More efficient development of the robotics sector and wide acceptance in both academia and industry of new benchmarking tools
  • Improved systems characterisation and improved means of robotics system performance evaluation.

The expected impacts for the Innovation Actions on safety certification are:

  • Broad acceptance of testing protocols and validation processes for a wide range of shared space applications
  • New validation processes on which deployment regulations and standards can be based.

The expected impacts for the PCP are:

  • Proof-of-concept and validation of robotics technology in the smart city context, to encourage procurement by smart city stakeholders of robotics technology for the benefit of citizens in everyday civic applications.
  • New market opportunities for robotics technology suppliers to the smart city sector.
  • Inroads into the defragmentation of the market and potential elaboration of standards for public procurement in this domain.


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