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MeitY Released Draft For National Strategy on Robotics

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The vision is rooted in the tenets of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, and Sabka Prayas’, ‘Make AI in India and Make AI work for India’, and ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), India, has proposed a draft for implementation of the National Strategy on Robotics (NSR). The objective is to position India as a global leader in robotics for manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and national security sectors, by 2030.

The mission, as mentioned in the draft, is to:

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  • Make India a global hub for the research, design, development, and manufacturing of robotics and promote large-scale adoption.
  • Ensure the creation of a sustainable and robust ecosystem for Robotics innovation and entrepreneurship in India.
  • Ensure global competitiveness of Indian robotics companies and start-ups.
  • Promote the creation of Indian intellectual property rights (IPRs) in the field of robotics.
  • Nurture a skilled robotics workforce. 

The scope of NSR is limited to the classification of robots as per the BIS’s standards for robots- IS 14662. The Bureau of  Indian Standards (BIS) has classified robots as Industrial robots, used in manufacturing and assembly line operations; service robots for personal use or professional use but not in industries and medical robots for medical electrical systems.

Convergence of AI and Robotics

Artificial intelligence (AI) enables robots to perform more complex tasks and make decisions autonomously. As applications of robotics evolve, convergence with other emerging technologies will be critical including autonomous systems, internet of things (IoT), human-robot collaboration (Cobots), 5G and edge computing and additive manufacturing or 3D printing.

In manufacturing, robotics will be used for  logistics and warehousing automation and shop floor transformation through Cobots. In healthcare cleaning and disinfecting robots, safety and monitoring robots and even surgical robots. In agriculture robots will be used for crop scouting and spot spraying. Mine Detection UGVs, surveillance robots and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) will add to national security.

The Robotics Innovation Unit (RIU) will lead the implementation of the National Strategy on Robotics. It will aim to create a robotics ecosystem with a specialized team of technical experts and innovation specialists.

It will engage with the industry, Micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, academia, and government organizations. It will facilitate the creation of domestic capabilities across the robotics value chain through funding and other institutional support. 

RIU’s implementation plan as mentioned in the draft

The operational stock of industrial robots has more than doubled in India to reach 33,220 units in 2021, averaging at an annual growth rate of 16%. Despite the potential, the growth has been slower due to several challenges, such as high import dependence, costly hardware components, insufficient investments in research and development and lack of trained personnel. 

To contribute in this regard various research & development centres have been developed. Capacity building initiatives have been taken including Atal Innovation Mission and e-YANTRA for upskilling talent.

Daksha and Manav robots have been developed in India and are currently being used. Vyom Mitra, a spacefaring humanoid robot, is being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to function onboard the Gaganyaan.

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