Singapore to jointly develop regional robotics ecosystem

SINGAPORE: Singapore is developing a robotics ecosystem with Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam in a bid to take the regional lead as businesses worldwide increasingly use such technology to transform their operations. 

This was announced by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon at the opening of the Singapore International Robo Expo on Thursday (Nov 2).

Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) are set to be signed between the Singapore Industrial Automation Association and its industry trade association counterparts from Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.

Dr Koh said the MOUs would enable firms in the four countries to explore opportunities for collaboration and leverage on shared networks and expertise.

“Innovation is at its best when we broaden the network and work together to co-create solutions and face challenges together,” Dr Koh said.

According to Singapore Industrial Automation Association president Oliver Tian, the industry trade associations across the four countries will focus on building expertise, matching the demand and supply for robotic solutions, coordinating and sourcing for funding support and developing core standards for building robotic applications.

“Singapore being an innovation hub wants to be able to create solutions but we need to find the buyer of solutions,” Mr Tian said.

“Malaysia is stepping up in terms of using technology to support the current manpower issues. Thailand has similar issues, they’re very impressive in pushing out an economic corridor that can draw investments in technology. And of course, Vietnam has got the manpower, the capability,” he said.

“So each of us plays a great role, a useful role, to support each other. And hopefully, at the end, we will achieve a win-win outcome matching supply and demand,” Mr Tian added. 

STRENGTHENING INDUSTRY CAPABILITIES

An MOU was also signed between ST Engineering and StarHub to collaborate on robotics solutions for the hospitality sector to improve operational productivity and alleviate manpower constraints.

This could see robots which can deliver laundry and room services, as well as documents via a built-in security cabinet, deployed in three hotels here as early as next year, ST Kinetics vice president of Kinetics Advanced Robotics Foo Khee Loon said.

The robot which ST Engineering brought into Singapore and intends to export to the rest of the world has a load carrying capacity of 650kg, one of the highest in the industry, according to Mr Foo.

“This makes a lot of difference for a lot of our customers who are asking for heavy duty, high load carrying capacity requirements,” he said. 

A startup marketplace was set up at the two-day event to promote the robotics startup scene. The partnership between the Singapore Industrial Automation Association, Experia Events and the Action Community for Entrepreneurship aims to provide entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their solutions, as well as access to experts and business resources.

“Startups are engines of innovation and it is no different for robotics,” said Dr Koh. “If Singapore is able to develop and vibrant ecosystem for robotics startups, we will be in a good position to gain a competitive edge in a high growth industry that thrives on new ideas and innovation.”

Now into its second year, the Singapore International Robo Expo aims to showcase automation and robotics solutions and technologies.

Source: CNA/hs

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