MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti) - The value of the Russian robot market, including technical equipment, medical robots, domestic equipment and toys, exceeded $40 billion in 2004, said Valentina Voronina, a senior staff scientist of the research institute at the Federal Agency for Science and Innovations.

According to her, there are few Russian robotic equipment producers, but in the past few years Russian programmers have been confidently winning in the simulation league of the Japanese RoboCup international soccer initiative, where moving software players (agents) play soccer on a virtual field inside a computer, the economic daily Vedomosti reports.

Alexei Kornilov, technical director of the Technovision company, thinks that the Russian market holds great promise for small companies. "We inherited major achievements and good specialists from the Soviet era," he says. "Formerly, they had no elemental base but now we can get it abroad."

Sergei Izyumov, general director of the Geologorazvedka geological survey company, admits that Russian business is not in a hurry to invest in robotics. His company's achievements could be used not only for geological survey but also for checking road condition, searching holes in roadbeds and scours, and in sewerage projects, the newspaper says.

At the stand of the St. Petersburg Robototekhnika research and design institute for robotics and technical cybernetics at the recent Hanover Fair, Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder were shown mobile robots that can find sources of radioactive contamination and place them in special containers for utilization.

Vladimir Putin noted that this new technology would be used to control radiation sources in outer space, airspace and on the ground.

The 3rd international specialized exhibition Robototekhnika (Robotics) will be held in Moscow from October 18 to 21, 2005.

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