Japan’s Service Robotics Development
Yumiko Myoken Senior Science Officer Science & Innovation Section British Embassy Tokyo
Japan’s Service Robotics Development
Japanese industrial robots are estimated to represent a share of approximately 30% of the world market. The service robot industry will grow up to 65 billion yen in 2020. Japan has maintained its high patents rate and achieved rapid growth in the areas of speech recognition and safety technologies as well as technologies related to affinity to human beings. The ministry investing the largest budget for robotics R&D is the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry (METI). There are two large scale ongoing projects ...view middle of the document...
It is greatly anticipated that advanced service robots capable of realising various functions will result. A number of robotics experts in both the private and public sectors acknowledge the over-riding need for safety verification as a core agenda for accelerating commercialisation and to facilitate the diffusion of service robots into general society. Features of Japan’s Robotics advantages Japan has maintained high international competitiveness, especially in robotics research and development, largely derived from its conventional strengths in mechatronics and information technology. Specifically, Japan has technological advantages in the fields of
advanced manipulation, learning and planning movements and sensing recognition. Japanese robot experts have been very keen to develop hardware for human interfaces, specifically in the form of small and high performance devices. Moreover, the Japanese advantage in industrial robots has largely relied upon its strenuous efforts to meet the various needs and high specifications requested by smart users in the automobile and electronics sectors. Japan’s robot research has a long history and its robotics research community has grown and established an extensive network. For instance, the Robotics and Mechatronics Symposium, led by the Japan Society for Mechanical Engineers, had approximately 1,500 participants with 1,000 submitted papers. This size of meeting among robotics experts cannot be seen elsewhere in the world. In Japan, robotics contests such as RoboCup and Robo-Con (Robot tournaments and contests) are held throughout the year involving many young researchers. It should be noted that Japan’s scientific research in the field of robotics is very active, as exemplified by the number of robotics experts as well as their contribution to academic journals which have constantly maintained the top position in the world. Japan has successfully maintained its high patents rate and achieved rapid growth in the areas of speech recognition and safety technologies as well as technologies related to affinity to human beings, where it is far ahead of other competitive countries.
Growing Market for Service Robots
In February 2011, Fuji Keizai, a major Japanese consulting company, released its predictions of the future market growth of Japanese service robots. It is estimated that the service robot industry will grow up to 65 billion yen in 2020.1 In 2010 the demand for service robots had increased to 11.3 billion yen, which was a 73.8% gain from the previous year. The factors behind such growth were triggered by the increased need for robots with the aim of supporting housework as well as living assistance. Indeed, Japan is a frontrunner for the growth of its ageing population as it is predicted that by 2050, 39% of all Japanese will be over 65. Under such circumstances, the demand for human assistance and nursing care robots will continue to grow for the coming decades. Service robots are seen...