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Robots are coming to India? Few lessons we must take from China

Source |  |By:Subir Gokarn

Of late China has become the largest market for robots. At the end of 2014, the estimated stock of robots in China was about 180,000, says Subir Gokarn.

Everybody has a favourite robot from the movies. C3PO with the English accent or R2D2 with the whistles and squeaks from Star Wars?

Sonny the possible murderer from I, Robot? Wall-E the conscientious waste manager from eponymous film? Ra.One?

Whichever one chooses, the common feature of all these and other fictional robots is that they are, at the same time, almost human and not-quite-human – rather like pet dogs. Robots in real life, however, are nothing like pet dogs.

In their industrial uses, they are essentially the next generation of machine tools; extremely fast and precise in performing their assigned tasks, while being extremely flexible in switching from one task to the other.

And they are nowhere near being anthropomorphic.

But their rapid penetration into a whole range of manufacturing activities has significant implications for people-abundant economies like India.

If you had to choose one industry that has done relatively well despite the sluggish global economy, it would be robotics.

The International Federation of Robotics, the global industry association, estimates that almost 230,000 robots were sold worldwide in 2014, about 27 per cent higher than the previous year.


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