By Du Fang
With the booming development of the robot industry, the revolution is coming to the robot technology in recent years. In the World Robot Exhibition 2016, there were the robot named "Jia Jia" developed by University of Science and Technology of China, featured with vivid charming appearance and know-it-all high IQ, and the industrial robot developed by HIT Robot Group, featured with more freedom and higher working efficiency, as well as medical robots, toy robots, educational robots, which are gradually applied in all industries and are playing an important role in changing the people's life.
On October 22, numerous foreign and Chinese experts attended the main forum of World Robot Forum 2016 for jointly discussing the technology and innovation, interaction and integration in the robot industry.
Forming the joint forces via man-machine collaboration
The rapid development of robot technology also shocks the experts in this field. Thanks to the man-machine collaborative technologies, the robot plays an important role in the medical field, and the development future of robots also becomes full of infinite possibilities due to the development of artificial intelligence. According to Quan Dongzhu, the professor of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the robot is able to carry out such creative activities as writing a novel after a series of deep learning. One day in future, the robot could be equipped with reactions of people, and be able to understand the actions of human beings. With the further development of artificial intelligence, deep learning and other technologies, a brand-new technical change is coming to the robot.
At the same time, the robot technology has been widely integrated with varied technologies in more fields. According to Hou Zengguang, the deputy director of Complex System Management and Control National Key Lab, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the technologies of robot involve in computer, machinery, electronic engineering, electric engineering as well as neurology, medical science, bionics, and even the literature and art.
Luo Renquan, chair professor of Taiwan University and CTO of ASUS Group, invented one intelligent robot -- the artist of color art by combing the art and technology.
"The general robot can paint with one-color pencil, but my intelligent robot can match the color on the palette by itself as well as draw the stripes and add the shadow. He can paint the fierce lion, lovely dog and the vivid portrait of Einstein in the painting area. Since all actions can be generated automatically, there will be constant visual feedback to the robot, and then the robot can further match the color and conduct more comparison", said Luo Renquan.
Luo Renquan also indicated, "We expect to form a joint force between the creativity of human beings and the machine by applying the robot technology, eliminate their differences, while the fact proves that the robot can fully imitate the actions of artists."
Advancing quality and efficiency for further achievement
Along with the end of the era of cheap labor power, insufficient labor has been the top issue faced by the enterprises. Therefore, the industrial robots have been widely applied for engaging in heavy and repeated works in the assembly line used to be done by human beings in many enterprises, which are featured with precise localization and high efficiency. Specialists who attended World Robot Exhibition 2016 indicated that the robot shall be the most powerful weapon for advancing quality and efficiency in economy.
However, the current development and technologies of industrial robots in China are far away from meeting the demands of industrial development. Gan Zhongxue, Director of Asian Design Council of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Dean of Ningbo Institute of Intelligent Manufacturing Industry, mentioned that the most industrial robots applied currently were single-arm robots, lack of hands as well as people's intelligence and online sensing ability, therefore, they can only be applied in the structured environment. "The ratio of robots replacing the human beings at present can be only up to 30 percent, with 70 percent works inaccessible for robots. In developing the "Made in China 2025", the double-arm robots and multi-arm robots featured with ‘intelligent mind and deft hands’ are the most important", said Gan Zhongxue.
According to Gan Zhongxue, "intelligent mind" means to develop the logical thinking of robots for improving the judgment, learning and decision-making ability, and "deft hand" means to develop the flexibility of robots. The robot with "intelligent mind and deft hands" shall be the intelligent terminal, the network controller and the cloud-manufacturing platform for making decisions and providing services.
"Robots in the factories can not only serve as the operator, as well as workshop supervisor and leaders, president, which means that there are robots taking the worker's job and robots taking the management position. The workshop achieving the coordinative work of human beings and robots can be called as the real intelligent workshop", said Gan Zhongxue.
According to the specialists attending the Exhibition, the factory form in the future will also change along with the development of the robot technology. Except the traditional assembly line invented by Henry Ford, Internet of Things (IOT) will connect all families, then apply the individual intelligence in the large-scale and high-efficient manufacturing process, which can represent the personalized features, and make everyone to be the manufacturing unit via the physical factory and virtual factory, thus achieving the real intelligent manufacturing featured with individual characters.
"The industrial robots applied currently play a certain role in replacing the labor and improving the efficiency, but its advantages of enhancing the economic value have not been fully played, since the current robots seem to be too clumsy. But I have confidence that the value created by robots could be eight or even ten times of the current value when the realization of real intelligent robots along with the development of robot technology, and the role of robots in advancing quality and efficiency is full of potentiality", said Gan Zhongxue.
Taking in everything and sticking to independent innovation
The booming development of robots has become the direction of intelligent manufacturing and intelligent society in the future. The amount of industrial robots being applied in the global scope is expected to add up to 2.6 million in 2019 from 1.63 million in 2015, therefore, many enterprises are eager for catching the opportunity during this industrial development.
The rushing participation of enterprises, the constant completion of robot industrial parks absolutely promotes the development of robot industry to be full of infinite vitality, but the specialists also concerned about the blindly following suit. "The development of service robot is encouraging, but the overdevelopment and disordering of industrial robots may result in negative effect on the industrial development. So far, the most robots applied in China are imported, and the types of industrial robots made in China are too less", said Gan Zhongxue.
"Japan and America have mastered the leading robot technology, due to their long-run development cycle of robots. For example, the robot developed by America for distributing the medicine to patients, distributing the documents and water is finally applied commercially after 16-years of experience, while Korean IMC has spent 10 years to develop the technology of capsule endoscopy. So for our Chinese, we should settle down to develop the core technology and core products," said Gan Zhongxue.
According to the opinions of specialists, there are many important technologies urging for overcoming, such as the safety technology, controller technology, artificial intelligence technology and flexible redundant degree of freedom, in spite of the fast-growing of robots.
How to develop the robot technology in China? Specialists suggest that we should take opportunities to take in the advanced foreign technologies and stick to the independent innovation. Yu Haibin, the director of Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, indicated that China has mastered the relevant engineering technology gradually thanks to the international cooperation with America, Russia, Italy and other countries for developing the underwater robot technology, and now the development of robots has been stepped into a stage featured with relatively independent development. Therefore, this kind of cooperation pattern can be further applied in the future for improving the level of independent innovation of robot industry in China.