Thursday, April 25, 2024

Robotics In India: Would Smart Systems Invade Our Personal Space?

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The term Robotics naturally evokes both interest and anticipation in the minds of engineers as well as the public in India, alike. With a mushroom in the number of startups, focussed on the research and development of Robotics, the anticipation is always higher. Now, the thousand-dollar question is how should we look at Robotics in case they become an integral part of our lives.

To seek answers to the above, and obtain basic clarity on how the Robotics scenario is in India, Rahul R of Electronics For You interviewed Ajay Godara who is the Director at Chandigarh-based Ennovate Lab LLP. Ajay has also been involved in multiple projects in designing and automating robots.

Q. What is the current scenario of Robotics in India?  

A. Today markets which are globally competent cannot do without automation. Sector-specific, it is the Automobile sector in India that requires Robotics/Automation the most.

India, as a developing country of the world, has understood that the speed, skill, consistency, and accuracy of robots cannot be matched by humans. Moreover, automation can take care of tasks which humans cannot perform specially in danger zones in an industry across varied sectors/domains.

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2014, 2,100 industrial robots were sold in India and it is estimated that this number could rise to 6,000 in 2018. The operational stock of multipurpose industrial robots in India was 11,760 in 2014. In 2015 the estimated figure was 14,300 and it is expected to rise to 27,100 by 2018.

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The ‘Make in India’ campaign is a shot in the arm for Indian manufacturing and startups. So as more industries come up in the country, industrial robotics is likely to flourish.

Q. Out of curiosity, can we expect to see robots in India distributed across sectors? If yes, any approximate timeline?

A. Yes, I think that ten years down the line we would see the maximum impact of robotics across varied sectors.

Q. Since you mentioned an approximate timeline, how do engineers engineer smart systems? Smart here refers to a system that is nearly 99% perfect to assist humans in their daily tasks; rather than replacing human beings.

A. Scientifically, robotics is a mix of many engineering disciplines like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

I wouldn’t like to go in-depth as this could be confusing especially to budding engineers, but would like to offer one simple piece of suggestion which is; to build a smart robot; remember that their control and sensory feedback system should be strong to avoid contingencies.

In summary, robot design should be ergonomic, low cost and, user friendly.

Q. How is the gap between robots and humans bridged in India, like in the US where robots are used for gardening, cleaning of houses, and more.

A. In economies such as the US, and Japan there is a shortage of domestic/household resources and manpower. This is where ‘domestic robots’ come to the fore. They are designed to take over daily household chores such as gardening, cleaning, and washing to mitigate for the lack of resources available.

In India, however we have plenty of domestic resources available for daily chores. So, robots do not come to the picture here. Nonetheless, robots in Industrial sector is fast catching up. This includes assistance for tasks such as machine-level contingency monitoring, sharing the industrial workload without posing a threat to already existing manpower, and more. Even the healthcare sector in India is rapidly adapting automation/robotics.

Q. Then, do you think that after robotics/automation make a big impact in India, would we be able to handle automated systems when these come to our daily lives

A. As I have stated earlier, robotics would fit in perfectly for systems that are outside of the personal domain purview. This again includes industrial systems; I don’t think that automation/robotics in our daily lives (speaking from use in the personal domain point of view) would ever be practical.

Q. Talking about industries, where do you think that robots would be able to help-out in India; apart from healthcare, and city traffic monitoring?

A. Robots would be effective in areas where there is shortage of skilled manpower. Significant application opportunities exist in the emerging service robotics sectors, whose products will impact on our everyday lives by contributing high-value-added services and providing safer working conditions.

Tele-operated mobile systems are now being used in several security applications including bomb disposal. In the future, robots will autonomously assist with the protection of offices and homes, and will help secure borders or monitor the environment in both routine and emergency operations.

In space, the use of robots has become almost obligatory. Both unmanned and manned missions will be preceded or augmented by robots.

In addition, the technology applicable to space robotics will enable a wide range of earth-based exploration and material-processing activities from automated undersea inspection to mining and mineral extraction under hazardous conditions.

Also, for instance, Tata Motors uses industrial robotics and automation for production. Many Indian subsidiaries of multi-national companies like Samsung, LG, Philips, Honda, Renault, Suzuki, Hyundai, and Ford also use industrial robots.

Q. Finally, being a seasoned engineer, what is your advice to startups specialising in robotics research?

A. Research on low-cost robotics and intelligent systems is undoubtedly the need of the hour in developing economies like India.

My advice to new startups is, to take part in various robotics competitions across multiple levels organised by the Indian Institute of Technology concerns (IITs). This is because many new projects on robotics are being displayed by the students of all levels in such activities throughout the country. In addition to this, owners of startups could potentially find new income sources/funding models for their research.

Do remember that even the Indian government is currently promoting startup initiatives at various levels both financially as well as strategically.


  1. Thank you Rahul R of EFY for bringing to light, achievement and start up of a young and dynamic Director engineer, Ajay Godara. Robotics are very accurate, too good, increase quality control & production. The key factor is precision and accuracy in programming, too. Good day and best of luck to the budding engineer?


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