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Latest tech: Robotics and the Indian industry

Published : Oct 19, 2016, 6:34 am IST
Updated : Oct 19, 2016, 6:34 am IST

India is the largest pool of engineers and scientists in the world. But we are still far behind in implementing robotics in the country. Even the numbers prove it.

India is the largest pool of engineers and scientists in the world. But we are still far behind in implementing robotics in the country. Even the numbers prove it. Approximately 1.5 million engineers graduate every year but close to 80 per cent of them are tagged unemployable as they do not meet required skills set by the corporate world. And hardly five to seven per cent of students from the IITs or the NITs know about robotics.

I believe there must be a channel where students can learn more about artificial intelligence along with core subjects. Because even though many are aware of robotics, they hardly understand WHY robotics But even if we overcome this learning gulf, there are few challenges the growth of the robotics industry in India faces in terms of growth. They include high costs for importing and making high-end technologies, research and development to match the Indian climate and markets, training and manufacturing units, etc.

Robotics is a sector which requires huge investments in terms of both money and time — on real-time research and development. Most of the R&D activities happen in educational institutions whose priorities are theory, test results and placements. But about 90 per cent of institutes in countries such as USA, Germany, China and Japan have their high-end robotics labs and R&D units specially designed for innovations and are guided in an ethical way.

However, the Indian robotics and automation industry and its research and development sectors are on the verge of scripting a new chapter.

It’s said that every technological solution will create another technology to solve its own problems. And the cycle is uncontrollable. The robotics industry in India is going to be a boon for obtaining better automation in every possible sector as a solution for previous errors. Currently, robotics is being used in the automobile industry, pharma, 3D-printing, textile and logistics. The other promising sectors are defense, agriculture, real-estate and education. The robotics industry in India then will surely open up a plethora of opportunities for students, entrepreneurs and researchers. At the same time, we do also have humongous humanitarian challenges which needs technological assistance. Blue-collar jobs are ceasing in numbers due to industrialisation, which will soon be replaced by the automated/AI systems. Robotics will surely take away the jobs but, it is equally in need for sustainable outputs to match the rate of speed of population explosion. Skill-based training and management will make everything balanced and can also contribute for the country’s GDP by increasing domestic product in the least possible time.

Also, shifting traditional sectors into a modern mode will be another complex issue in the long run. This can be eliminated during the initial stages by implementing robotics only in required areas, especially as a tool to resolve humanitarian challenges.

The author is founder and director at Credence Robotics, Bengaluru