The British Robotics Landscape: Decades of Underachievement but Replete with Potential

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3Q 2019 | IN-5568


The State of Play


The United Kingdom has historically lagged in the field of robotics, especially in relation to competitor economies on the European continent, particularly Germany, but in comparison to North American and East Asian economies as well. Far from being an isolated phenomenon, the lack of robotics deployment in the United Kingdom coincides with decades of relative industrial stagnation.

When simply looking at shipment figures, the United Kingdom is largely a spectator in the robotics industry. This has been the result of many factors, including a decline in manufacturing relative to the rest of the world, a lack of solid investment growth, a failure to develop a coherent and long-term industrial policy, and a limited number of domestic companies championing robots.

This manifests itself in shipment statistics. According to ABI Research, while Europe was the destination for 16.2% of industrial robot shipments in 2019, the United Kingdom was home to just 0.9%. Installations for industrial robots went down by 3%, or 2,306, from 2018 to 2017. This occurred at the same time that growth in the European U…

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