Drone flying over landscape

13. April 2021

New article on the future impacts of robotics and autonomous systems on urban greenspaces

An article in Nature Ecology and Evolution forecasts the future impacts of robotics and autonomous systems such as drones, self-driving cars and robots able to repair infrastructure, on the urban ecosystems.

Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report the findings of an online horizon scan involving 170 expert participants from 35 countries. We conclude that RAS are likely to transform land use, transport systems and human–nature interactions. The prioritized opportunities were primarily centred on the deployment of RAS for the monitoring and management of biodiversity and ecosystems. Fewer challenges were prioritized. Those that were emphasized concerns surrounding waste from unrecovered RAS, and the quality and interpretation of RAS-collected data. Although the future impacts of RAS for urban ecosystems are difficult to predict, examining potentially important developments early is essential if we are to avoid detrimental consequences but fully realize the benefits.

Here's the link to the original publication:
Goddard, M.A., Davies, Z.G., Guenat, S., Ferguson, M.J., Fisher, J.C., Akanni, A., Ahjokoski, T., Anderson, P.M.L., Angeoletto, F., Antoniou, C., Bates, A.J., Barkwith, A., Berland, A., Bouch, C.J., Rega-Brodsky, C.C., Byrne, L.B., Cameron, D., Canavan, R., Chapman, T., Connop, S., Crossland, S., Dade, M.C., Dawson, D.A., Dobbs, C., Downs, C.T., Ellis, E.C., Escobedo, F.J., Gobster, P., Gulsrud, N.M., Guneralp, B., Hahs, A.K., Hale, J.D., Hassall, C., Hedblom, M., Hochuli, D.F., Inkinen, T., Ioja, I.C., Kendal, D., Knowland, T., Kowarik, I., Langdale, S.J., Lerman, S.B., MacGregor-Fors, I., Manning, P., Massini, P., McLean, S., Mkwambisi, D.D., Ossola, A., Luque, G.P., Pérez-Urrestarazu, L., Perini, K., Perry, G., Pett, T.J., Plummer, K.E., Radji, R.A., Roll, U., Potts, S.G., Rumble, H., Sadler, J.P., de Saille, S., Sautter, S., Scott, C.E., Shwartz, A., Smith, T., Snep, R.P.H., Soulsbury, C.D., Stanley, M.C., Van de Voorde, T., Venn, S.J., Warren, P.H., Washbourne, C.L., Whitling, M., Williams, N.S.G., Yang, J., Yeshitela, K., Yocom, K.P. and Dallimer, M. (2021) A global horizon scan of the future impacts of robotics and autonomous systems on urban ecosystems. Nature Ecology and Evolution  5: 219–230.

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