2014: Year of the robot industry outbreak

"In 2035, it is the era of robots!" This is a line in the sci-fi movie "I, Robot". The background of the film is on Earth. Every 15 people have an artificial intelligence robot, which tells the emotional entanglement between people and machines.

Although today's robots are far from being so intelligent, machine workers and machine assistants are everywhere. They even infiltrate into family life, take responsibility for babysitting and care, and people are increasingly dependent on advanced technology.

Will the future be the world of robots? When we think about this new question again, we may find that the scenes in the science fiction film are no longer far away.

Recently, the world's most advanced humanoid robot "Atlas" (the Hercules in Greek mythology), developed by Boston Dynamics, was unveiled, setting off a global robotics boom. The US Congress stipulates that by 2015, one-third of ground combat will use robotic soldiers.

This news has intensified the urgency of China's development of the robot industry.

At the "2013 China Robot Industry Promotion Conference" held in early July, Wang Weiming, deputy director of the Equipment Industry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, publicly stated that since last year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has successively applied robots to Shanghai, Shenyang, Chongqing and Harbin. The industry has conducted research and the "Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Development of Industrial Robot Industry" will be released soon.

Entering the intelligent age

In the era of intelligence, the image of the robot no longer stays in the "steel (market) warrior" in the science fiction film, or the arm of a mechanical machine on the production line, but shows it with a more intimate appearance.

Our reporter recently entered the Cobos Experience Center in Wuhan International Plaza, and more than 20 products such as window cleaning robots, vacuum cleaning robots, air purification robots, and security robots are dazzling.

Xie Zuoqun, agent of Cobos Hubei, introduced the market in Wuhan for half a year, and can sell more than 20 home service robots every month in Wuhan International Plaza. "Home service robots can free hands, save time, and have entertainment functions. Nowadays, I also use technology such as the Internet of Things to achieve remote control. Even if you are on a business trip, you can remotely control your home robots," he said.

"Robots need to break through the three major application technology barriers." The staff of the Cobos Experience Center said that the application environment of the family is more complicated, and how the robot adapts itself to the environment is the first major obstacle to be solved; the robot is mostly made of steel. Safety can also be one of the technical obstacles if it comes into contact with people. In addition, robots need to adapt to a variety of complex language instructions to improve the accuracy of human-computer interaction, such as the ability to understand dialects, family idioms and so on.

However, compared with countries such as Japan that have developed robots in the 1970s, Chinese local companies did not really start cutting into the industry until after 2000.

Despite this, China has demonstrated its decent strength in both technology research and development and marketing.

On March 6th, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Home Service Robot Performance Test Evaluation Standards Working Group Meeting was held in Suzhou. Cobos hosted the meeting as the convening unit of the international standard chemical industry (market area). This is in the international For the first time, Chinese companies in the field of robotics have led the meeting of international standards as a convenor. The working group will complete the development and release of the international standards for home service robots in three years. The goal of 2013 is to complete the phased work of the committee documents of the international standards for home service robots through multiple rounds of consultations.

According to reports, in the domestic cleaning robot field, two out of every three cleaning robots sold are from Cobos. At present, Cobos family service robots have been sold to 46 countries and regions such as the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland and Spain.

Just half a month after the Chinese national football team lost 1:5 to the Thai team, the performance of another "Chinese football team" was unexpected: in the medium-sized group competition of the 2013 Robot World Cup soccer tournament, by Beijing University of Information Science and Technology The "water team" formed by the students defeated the host and the defending champion Eindhoven University of Technology in 3-2 to win the championship.

What is even more gratifying is that such robots are gradually coming out of the laboratory and serving people in various public places, breaking the monopoly of foreign technology in the high-end humanoid robot industry. Some experts predict that within 10 to 15 years, robots with various skills will enter the Chinese citizens' homes and provide family services like babysitters.

Manufacturing revolution

In fact, the spring of robots in the field of industrial applications is quietly coming.

According to analysts at Shangpu Consulting Machinery Industry, the domestic industrial robot industry has entered a golden period. As a surprising “by-product” brought about by the rapid rise of labor costs and the upgrading of industrial structure, the replacement of artificial labor by robots has become a catalyst for the rapid development of the industry.

Since the beginning of this year, Zoomlion has started to purchase welding robots to replace expensive welding workers, and Huaxi Energy has started to use industrial automation equipment. The domestic manufacturing industry is setting off a wave of “robot mobilization”.

At present, a simple handling robot costs three years as a worker and has a life expectancy of more than 10 years. Statistics show that the cost of domestic industrial robots is falling at a rate of 4% per year, and cost-oriented technology upgrades have huge market space in China.

Some media reported that the difficulty of recruiting workers since 2011 began to be staged in the spring season, and there is a trend from the coast to the west. Even Foxconn, the world's largest foundry company and a large number of recruiters from all over the world, has begun to try to get rid of its dependence on labor.

As early as 2011, Foxconn said that it will deploy 1 million robots on the assembly line in the next three years. This year, Foxconn’s recruitment has cooled significantly, and the robot team has quietly taken up posts.

Moreover, robots are more competitive in terms of productivity. In Shenzhen Leibo Technology (the market trading point) company, in the past, 110 people need to work constantly. After the introduction of a large number of robots, only five workers are needed. Customized industrial robots have become the mainstay of its production line, and its employees have been reduced from more than 3,000 to more than 1,000 now.

It must be mentioned that the robot industry is booming, although it will replace the workers in the factory, but it will also increase the job opportunities of engineers, and will not cause a lot of unemployment.

More importantly, robots represent the highest level of human production tools. The popularity of robots in the future can be said to be another industrial revolution. The robot industry is also considered to be the emerging large-scale high-tech emerging after the automobile (market area) and computers. industry.

At present, 70% of global robot sales are concentrated in five countries, they are Japan, China, the United States, South Korea and Germany, and these five countries are generally more resilient in this world economic recession.

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