A €2.8 billion ($3.8 billion) joint investment in robotics research and innovation by the robotics industry and the European Commission is intended to create over 240,000 new jobs in Europe—but it remains unclear how many old jobs will be replaced or destroyed by the program, some of those involved said. The Commission and 180 companies and research organisations launched the initiative, called SPARC, on Tuesday. It is an effort to strengthen Europe’s position in the global robotics market, which the Commission expects to be worth about €60 billion a year by 2020.
A partnership between private-sector robotics firms and the European Commission has been launched, aiming to out-invest the United States, Japan and South Korea in developing the potential of robots. The deal was signed back in December, but it was properly launched and branded at the Automatica trade fair in Munich, Germany, on Tuesday. Rather peculiarly, the partnership now bears the name SPARC. I asked the Commission why it chose to adopt the name of an architecture that’s popular in supercomputers, but haven’t received an explanation as yet. SPARC has significant funding for the 2014-2020 period — €700 million ($952 million) from the European Commission and €2.1 billion ($2.85 billion) from 180 private companies and research organizations, who have banded together under the umbrella of euRobotics. The first tranche of funding will be parcelled out by the end of this year.