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A global horizon scan of the future impacts of robotics and autonomous systems on urban ecosystems

Goddard, MA, Davies, ZG, Guenat, S, Ferguson, MJ, Fisher, JC, Akanni, A, Ahjokoski, T, Anderson, PML, Angeoletto, F, Antoniou, C, Bates, AJ, Barkwith, A, Berland, A, Bouch, CJ, Rega-Brodsky, CC, Byrne, LB, Cameron, D, Canavan, R, Chapman, T, Connop, S, Crossland, S, Dade, MC, Dawson, DA, Dobbs, C, Downs, CT, Ellis, EC, Escobedo, FJ, Gobster, P, Gulsrud, NM, Guneralp, B, Hahs, AK, Hale, JD, Hassall, C, Hedblom, M, Hochuli, DF, Inkinen, T, Ioja, IC, Kendal, D ORCID: 0000-0003-2816-1722, Knowland, T, Kowarik, I, Langdale, SJ, Lerman, SB, MacGregor-Fors, I, Manning, P, Massini, P, McLean, S, Mkwambisi, DD, Ossola, A, Luque, GP, PA rez-Urrestarazu, L, Perini, K, Perry, G, Pett, TJ, Plummer, KE, Radji, RA, Roll, U, Potts, SG, Rumble, H, Sadler, JP, de Saille, S, Sautter, S, Scott, CE, Shwartz, A, Smith, T, Snep, RPH, Soulsbury, CD, Stanley, MC, Van de Voorde, T, Venn, SJ, Warren, PH, Washbourne, CL, Whitling, M, Williams, NSG, Yang, J, Yeshitela, K, Yocom, KP and Dallimer, M 2021 , 'A global horizon scan of the future impacts of robotics and autonomous systems on urban ecosystems' , Nature Ecology and Evolution, vol. 5, no. 2 , pp. 219-230 , doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-01358-z.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Goddard, MA and Davies, ZG and Guenat, S and Ferguson, MJ and Fisher, JC and Akanni, A and Ahjokoski, T and Anderson, PML and Angeoletto, F and Antoniou, C and Bates, AJ and Barkwith, A and Berland, A and Bouch, CJ and Rega-Brodsky, CC and Byrne, LB and Cameron, D and Canavan, R and Chapman, T and Connop, S and Crossland, S and Dade, MC and Dawson, DA and Dobbs, C and Downs, CT and Ellis, EC and Escobedo, FJ and Gobster, P and Gulsrud, NM and Guneralp, B and Hahs, AK and Hale, JD and Hassall, C and Hedblom, M and Hochuli, DF and Inkinen, T and Ioja, IC and Kendal, D and Knowland, T and Kowarik, I and Langdale, SJ and Lerman, SB and MacGregor-Fors, I and Manning, P and Massini, P and McLean, S and Mkwambisi, DD and Ossola, A and Luque, GP and PA rez-Urrestarazu, L and Perini, K and Perry, G and Pett, TJ and Plummer, KE and Radji, RA and Roll, U and Potts, SG and Rumble, H and Sadler, JP and de Saille, S and Sautter, S and Scott, CE and Shwartz, A and Smith, T and Snep, RPH and Soulsbury, CD and Stanley, MC and Van de Voorde, T and Venn, SJ and Warren, PH and Washbourne, CL and Whitling, M and Williams, NSG and Yang, J and Yeshitela, K and Yocom, KP and Dallimer, M
Keywords: urban ecology
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Ecology and Evolution
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2397-334X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41559-020-01358-z
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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited 2021

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