There is no doubt that robotics, as a disruptive technology, will change life as we know it over the next 50 years, enriching and augmenting all the aspects of life. The main robotics challenges in the next few decades will be to develop autonomous robotic systems that can perform complex tasks in human environments and safely cooperate with humans in arbitrary settings. Robots with these capabilities will transform our everyday lives, as well as industrial processes, like the Internet, cell phones and computers had in the past two decades. Many globally-relevant agencies and institutes, such as the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), and World Economic Forum (WEF), have highlighted the significance of the field of autonomous, next-generation robotics, and its potential to transform life, business, and the global economy. The IFR 2018 executive summary reported a robot sales increase of 30%, which is a new peak for the fifth year in a row. WEF has placed Social robotics as one of the top emerging technologies of 2019. The MGI report on disruptive technologies estimates the potential economic impact on an annual basis by 2025. For Advanced robotics, it could range between $1.7 -$4.5 trillion, while for Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles estimates range from $200 billion to $1.9 trillion. Robotics has been a high-technology area for decades and competitive advantages therein are hard-won. European robotics research strategies clearly indicate that Europe must not only retain leadership where competitive advantages have been achieved, but also take the lead in first-wave technologies gaining valuable intellectual property rights and first-to-market advantages.