COVID-19 White Paper


A decision-maker's guide to the robotized pandemic response

From disinfection and remote triage, to logistics and delivery, countries around the world are making use of robots to address the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the story of robots and COVID-19 is not just about which countries are using robots to help manage their pandemic response; it is also about how the pandemic has become an inflection point for accelerating investment in robotics more broadly.

Written in plain language and free of technical jargon, this paper aims to provide decision-makers with a primer on the use of robots and their potential in the fight against COVID.

To understand how to best make an impact with robots here in Canada, we conducted interviews with robotics industry professionals and stakeholders in areas as diverse as hospitals, public health, public transportation, manufacturing/retail industries, education, and government labs. We used these dialogues, along with our collective 130 years of experience working across the spectrum of the field to identify Canada’s biggest strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for robotics innovation.

Download the full white paper on ArXiv:

114 pages, 18 figures, 13 tables

Global context and overview of the state of the art for decision-makers


Robot Basics

Essential background for non-experts, including a primer on robotics, an overview of the standard levels used to describe robot autonomy, and an explanation of how robotics are developed from lab experiments through to deployment in real world applications.


COVID Use Cases

Dozens of examples of how robots can be or are already being used to manage COVID-19, organized by their maturity level:

  • Disinfection & Cleaning
  • Medical Triage & Assistance
  • Sampling & Diagnostic
  • Public Safety & Security
  • Social Interaction & Healthy Living
  • Manufacturing & Logistics
  • Delivery & Transportation


Key Success Factors

The key trends and drivers (technological, social and systemic) that are most relevant to the successful deployment of robots during the pandemic. For each factor, we describe why it matters during COVID, we provide examples, and give a long term outlook.

Canadian examples, case studies, and analysis

Canadian Robotics Landscape

A brief history of Canadian robotics, as well as an overview of our key robotics assets, including companies, government and academic research centres, robotics funding history, stakeholder activities, and the robotics regulatory landscape.

Canada's Robotized Pandemic Response

Specific examples and case studies demonstrating how Canada is putting robots to use during COVID. Includes both how robots are being used in Canada, and how Canadian robots are being used worldwide.

Strengths, Weaknesses & Opportunties

Analysis of Canada's robotics strengths and weaknesses across the key success factors most relevant to the pandemic, as well as opportunities and recommendations for next steps Canada can take to better exploit its robotics assets.