Artificial Imbecility -- Expert Dubs Dumb Robots the ‘Sticking Point’ of China’s Industrial Robotics

Yicai

2016-12-13

(Yicai Global) Dec. 13 -- An expert interviewed by Yicai Global argues the transformation and upgrade of the Chinese manufacturing industry is seemingly a big positive move for industrial robot manufacturers, but it has become increasingly difficult for industrial robots to produce precision equipment and low intelligence has become a ‘tar pit’ for China’s robotics industry.

It is early days still for the displacement of manual workers by robots in China, where this is limited to the use of robotic arms capable only of substituting repetitive manual work on production lines, admits Lin Jiang, economics professor at Sun Yat-Sen University.

“Most industrial robots today can only work in structured environments and have poor online sensing capabilities. As Engel Berger, the ‘Father of Industrial Robots,’ puts it, if an automated device can only perform one task, it’s only a piece of automated equipment, not a robot. A real robot must be able to perform various tasks,” Huang Zhaoxiong, chief engineer at CTR Robotics, told our reporter.

Similarly, Tan Yuanzhi, chairman of Wuxi Precision Press Parts Co., says industrial robots available today are more suited to simple operations like carrying and conveying goods, with deficient intelligence forming a bottleneck.

To make robots more intelligent, “relevant standards must be introduced to lay the groundwork for future robot customization and ‘intelligentization,’” said Tu Wei, senior manager at REIS Robotics (China) Co. This way, automated industrial robots capable of smart system-controlled recognition will prove an effective solution for many equipment manufacturers in mitigating rising labor costs.

Israeli Robotics Association president Prof. Zvi Shiller says that, as an interdisciplinary system, robotics involves integrating various software and hardware technologies -- including core technologies -- sensing, action planning, dynamics, control, and mechanical design. A robot product takes a large team a long time to develop before its market debut.