Opinion: Robots are the 'obvious solution' to staff shortages in the UK post-Brexit

March 4, 2020

Several companies are developing robots which can roam fields picking fruit and berries without bruising them.

Robots are the “obvious solution” to any staff shortages in the UK after it leaves the EU, a new report has claimed.

 

The report, produced by the German robotics conference Automatica, found that many workers in the UK welcomed increasing automation.

 

Out of the 1,000 Brits surveyed, 80pc said they wanted robots to take on potentially harmful tasks like heavy lifting and handling hazardous materials.

 

Nearly 70pc of people surveyed in the report said they believe the use of robots will be essential for the competitiveness of the UK’s economy.

 

Seventy three per cent of people in the UK surveyed wanted robots to take on monotonous tasks.

 

Mike Wilson, the chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association, said the increased use of robots in the workplace was a key route for British businesses following the country’s departure from the EU.

 

“Over many years, the UK has attracted workers from other countries, with businesses preferring to hire people rather than invest in automation equipment,” he said.

 

"After Brexit, businesses have to ensure that they use their workforce effectively and find alternative ways of performing tasks for which they have a shortage of staff - robot automation being an obvious solution."

 

Several British businesses are developing robotic arms which are able to pick fruits and berries without bruising them. 

 

Fieldwork Robotics, a Plymouth University spin-out, raised £298,000 in January for its autonomous raspberry-picking robots.

 

Dogtooth, a Cambridge business, is working on a robot which can be used to pick strawberries while other researchers and businesses are developing robots which could work on hazardous sites.

 

James Cook is a Technology Reporter for The Telegraph

 

First published in the Telegraph

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