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robotics industry 2019-04-09

What The Future Holds for Robotics in India

As per a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics, robot density in India stands at a measly 3 robots per 10k employees.

By Senior Sub-editor
What The Future Holds for Robotics in India

Whenever someone brings up the topic of AI or robotics, there’s always talk of the future. We all take a long look in our crystal balls and predict the next invention that’ll take the world by storm. The long and short of it is that robotics is fast becoming ingrained in our lives with the constant and relentless advancements being made in robotics tech.

Is Robotics the Answer?

As per a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics, robot density in India stands at a measly 3 robots per 10k employees. This is in stark comparison to other Asian powers like South Korea which has the highest robot density in the world at 631 robots, followed by Singapore with 488 robots per 10k employees and Japan at 303 robots.

Yet, not all is grim and dark. You’d be surprised to know significant steps have already been taken in India when it comes to robotics and AI. Industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and construction are leading the demand for robotics talent. In fact, robotics would be a boon for the Indian healthcare industry. Due to India’s ballooning population (1.36 billion) and a doctor-patient ratio of 1:1674 (as against WHO norm of 1:1000), India would benefit greatly from the use of technologies like surgical robots, robot-assisted diagnostics, telesurgery, AI-based medical bots, etc.

And when the topic is robots, how can edutech robotics be far behind? Efforts are being made to include robotics as a part of curriculum across schools in the country. Avishkaar is one such entity which is working towards this making this vision a reality. Through its range of DIY robotics kits, and emphasis on ‘Making’ culture, Avishkaar is doing its part.

But before we move forward, let’s take a look at the current scenario of the robotics industry in India.

Present Scenario of Robotics in India

Robotics is pervading in a number of industries irrespective of the fact that they’re labor intensive in nature or not. There’s increased use of robots in warehouses where they perform jobs from heavy lifting to inventory collection and other assorted jobs. The Indian market for warehouse automation is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10-12 percent between 2015-2020 and reach US $3.49bn by 2020.

You’d be surprised to know that the first robot-assisted surgery took place way back in 2002 in New Delhi. Steps are being taken to increase the number of surgeons trained to perform robotic surgeries from existing 120 surgeons to 300 by 2020. And what if I told you that there are robotic medical assistants who can monitor and interpret the vital signs of patients, analyze their symptoms and design a procedure for their treatment?

And that’s not all. Robots are taking over the responsibility of performing menial tasks such as vacuuming, mopping floors, etc. Roomba anyone? iRobot’s Roomba was released in 2002 and has sold more than 3 million units in total till date! The obvious perk being these robots are able to clean the space under furniture and other hard to reach spots scattered around your home.

More Robots  ≠  Fewer Jobs

Now before you go on and start predicting a doomsday scenario about a loss of jobs for us humans, wait a moment. Robotics is actually creating more jobs in the market. Corroborating this is a study released by Indeed (an Indian job portal) which revealed a hike of 186 percent amongst job seekers looking for opportunities in the robotics sector in India between May 2015 and May 2018. Moreover, job postings in the sector saw a growth of 191 percent during the same time period.

And leading the charge is Maharashtra, which is creating the highest number of jobs in the robotics sector in India, with Karnataka and Telangana close on its heels.

Hold Your Horses, Will You?

The future is bright for both robots and humans. The industry is on the cusp of exploding in the country has access to Internet connectivity and open source applications become more widespread. Even though people have a fear of automation taking away jobs from us humans, in fact, more job opportunities are being created for skilled personnel.

The question is, are you willing to put in the effort needed to upskill yourself and grab the opportunity with both hands?

 

This article is contributed by Tarun Bhalla, FOunder & CEO, Avishkaar. 

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