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.