In a world where roboticists and engineers are busy making cars smarter and smarter, and creating the world’s first humanoid robot that can be controlled by voice commands, how can the “next-generation” robotics industry look?
That’s the question that’s being asked by the Canadian robotics company, Nanjing Jiaotong University.
As the technology giant expands its robotics team to Canada and the U.S., it’s looking to invest $250 million in a new factory in Nanjing, the first of its kind in Asia.
“This will be the world-class facility for our future robotics business,” said Nanjing University president Jianping Zuo.
“It will provide a great facility for us to further advance the technology and advance our understanding of robotics and artificial intelligence.
It will be an excellent venue to develop our capabilities and accelerate the development of robotics technologies for the next decades.”
The new facility is scheduled to open in 2020.
As robots become more complex and capable of performing tasks, they are also becoming increasingly difficult to program and automate.
To help alleviate the gap, Nanjian has partnered with companies such as Boeing, IBM and Intel to create the next generation of robots.
“We are excited about the potential of robotics technology and we are working hard to make robots that will be more advanced and more powerful,” said Zuo, who recently announced a $10 million investment into the project.
Nanjing has already invested $150 million in the factory in Shanghai and plans to invest another $150m in the Nanjing campus, with an eye on a 20-fold expansion to create a fully automated factory.
In a similar way to the Toyota plant, the new factory will use a mixture of technology and robotics.
The main area of focus is automation, with more than 60 employees at the factory, including several software developers.
Zuo said that the robot-driven facility will be a model for future factories.
“In order to increase the productivity of our workers and to improve their work conditions, we are investing $250,000 in a fully-automated robotics plant in Nanjiaotou University,” he said.
“At Nanjing we are committed to creating an environment that will provide the best possible opportunities for our workforce.”