Robotics Mission 2014: Would you trust a robot like you would your computer?

How confident are you of your computer's reliability? How about your tablet? Does it do what you want it to every time?

I'm anticipating that your answer to the last question there is no. My laptop is riddled with malware (due to my own complacency) and even my iPhone malfunctions occasionally. But when it does, it doesn't lunge at me with a screwdriver.

This is the potentiality that Nick Tudor, CEO of D-RisQ Software Systems, is looking to prevent, but in the robotics sphere.

"The problem we've got is a bit like the Internet. When it was first launched, ARPANET, it was specifically designed to allow researchers to do stuff, but then it was released on the great public of the planet and all sorts of nefarious things started to happen," he said to me during the inaugural Robotics and Autonomous Systems mission in Silicon Valley.

"If robotics is going to take off, what can we do now to head off at the pass, the kind of things that we now have with the Internet?"

Read more:The TSB & UKTI Robotics Mission: What's it all about?

Continual development of robots for manufacturing purposes makes Tudor's argument all the more pertinent. On a production line safety is key, and Precise Automation, a company which ITPP visited during the robotics mission, aims to develop a new generation of automation products, including robots developed to work alongside humans safely.

This bot (pictured, left) ceases motion when it encounters resistance, the aim being to minimise human injury, should a collision of worker and robot occur. The expansion of the UAV market also brings further challenges to the table, Tudor explained.

"'Killer drones' is one of the bandied around phrases, and what we as an industry need to show is that robots don't do the things that we don't want them to do, ever. And that's a really hard thing to show.

"If we have robotics systems or autonomous systems that are out there, and they do start doing harm, then it will set the industry back ten years. It may even kill the robotics industry."

Read more: Attack of the drones: Facebook eyes acquisition to power 11,000-strong airborne Internet army

D-RisQ aims to iron out errors right at the beginning of the design process, eliminating the need for costly modifications at later stages, Tudor explained.

"We have a couple of technologies that show that a set of requirements for the autonomous system, that shows that the behaviour you want is satisfied in the system, and the behaviour you don't want is satisfied in the system.

"We can show the behaviours that are going to happen when, not if, something goes wrong with that particular robot."

The June Robotics and Autonomous Systems mission saw eight UK startups tour Silicon Valley, sharing knowledge and pitching their ideas to investors. It was organised by the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade & Investment.