A new centre for robotics has been launched at Sheffield Hallam University. The Centre for Automation and Robotics Research, the only one of its kind in the region, aims to be a "hotbed" of robotics and automation research, teaching and consultancy. It is led by Jacques Penders, an expert in artificial intelligence who has created robots that can swarm together to act as firefighters. The centre was opened by Noel Sharkey, a robotics expert from the University of Sheffield, who estimated that there were 1.5 million robots working in industry worldwide. He said that at present Britain had the lowest level of robot use in Europe.