The importance of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) lies in its strong economic contribution as an industrial and commercial activity in its own right and in its broad and disruptive socio-economic impact across diverse market sectors world-wide. Advanced robotics and autonomous (or near-autonomous) vehicles will have a potential annual economic impact by 2025 on a par with e.g. mobile Internet, advanced materials or energy markets.

Already now, industrial robotics has become a cornerstone in several of Europe’s high value manufacturing industries, such as automotive, keeping these industries in Europe. This trend must be maintained, strengthened and enlarged to all main industries in Europe. Robotics technology also has an impact on a broad range of end user markets and applications. The robotics professional and consumer service sectors are expected to achieve double-digit growth during the next decade and SMEs will play a key role e.g. in opening new markets. In addition to manufacturing, important future application domains for robots, with high impact on everyday life, will include healthcare, agriculture, civil, commercial or consumer sectors, logistics and transport.

The EU's strategic vision aims at strengthening Europe's global position in the robotics market to one third of industrial robotics, two-thirds of professional services and one-fifth of the domestic services market by 2020. Overall, an expected robotics-related increase of the EU GDP by EUR 80 billion is targeted.