Research sets course for China’s robot industry

Research conducted by the China Robot Industry Alliance (CRIA) has proposed development goals and tasks for China’s robot industry in the coming period.

China needs to establish a sound robot industrial system and grow into a world leader in terms of robot development, manufacturing and system integration by 2025, said Song Xiaogang, executive president of the CRIA at the Smart Robot Summit held in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality on Tuesday.

“To achieve the targets, we need to raise our innovation capacity, step up efforts to achieve breakthroughs in a number of core technologies, build world-class brands and promote the integration of robotics with other advanced technologies such as big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence,” Song said in publishing the preliminary research results.

The medium-to-long-term research program was initiated by the Chinese Academy of Engineering in May, amid a steady boom in the global robotics market with expanding applications scenarios.

The sales of industrial robots registered average annual growth of 16% worldwide from 2010 to 2018, and applications have expanded beyond automobiles and electronics manufacturing to such general industries as food, beverage and metal production, Song said.

Service Robot Report 2018 published by the International Federation of Robotics (IRF) showed the world sales value of service robots for professional use increased by 39% to $6.6 billion in 2017, and the total number sold in this category rose by 85%.

In terms of personal service robots, which assist or entertain humans in their everyday lives, the value went up by 27% to $2.1 billion, according to the report.

According to the IRF, China is among the largest industrial robot producer with a market share of 36% in 2017 and predicted sales of two billion units by 2020.

Song noted that the local robot industry still faced many problems and challenges, such as the need to improve its independent research & development capacity, and the lack of well-established industry standards and certification system.

In response, the research suggested a number of measures to promote the healthy development of the industry, including building a national center for robotics innovation, enhancing talent development and related international cooperation, etc.

Tuesday’s summit was part of the Smart China Expo 2019 that opened on Aug. 26. Under a theme of “Smart Technology: Empowering Economy, Enriching Life”, the four-day event aims to showcase new products, technologies, and forms of business in the worldwide smart industry, and to promote international cooperation in the digital economy through summits, exhibitions, competitions and forums.

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