In July, the heads of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy identified robotics as one of the Administration’s R&D priorities for the President’s FY2012 budget.
Robotics is an important technology because of its potential to advance national needs such as homeland security, defense, medicine, healthcare, space exploration, environmental monitoring and remediation, transportation, advanced manufacturing, logistics, services, and agriculture. Robotics is also nearing a tipping point in terms of its usefulness and versatility as technologies such as software, chips, and computer vision continue to improve.
OSTP has been working with Federal agencies and the research community to identify concrete steps that the Administration can take to promote U.S. leadership in robotics.
As part of this effort, five agencies teamed up to issue a joint solicitation for small business research for Robotics Technology Development and Deployment (RTD2). Small businesses can apply for research funding for a wide range of topics, including robot-assisted rehabilitation, robotics for drug discovery, and robots that can disarm explosive devices.
Expect to see more to come in the months ahead from a newly energized and collaborative Federal robotics community!
Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Sridhar Kota is Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy