Friday, September 16, 2005

Tiawan Betting on Robots

Robot manufacturing poised to become Taiwan's next big industry

Building intelligent robots is poised to become Taiwan's next high-growth industry as an increasing number of local information-technology manufacturers have been engaging in research and development for the equipment.

The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs plans to initiate a cross-industry consortium to develop intelligent robots. The bureau points out that the island's robot industry will shift its attention to products that offer services from products for industrial purpose in near future. It forecasts the Taiwanese industry's output value will rise to NT$30 billion (US$937 million) from last year's NT$14 billion (US$437.5 million).

BenQ Corp. recently organized a robot R&D team to focus on technology for building robots specifically used to take care of children and elderly people, while Hon Hai Precision Industry has started developing robots for transporting goods within factories.

Local semiconductor-manufacturing equipment suppliers including Kenmec Mechanical Engineering Co., Ltd. and Kingroup Automation Industry Corp. have also gotten involved in developing intelligent robots for the semiconductor and flat-panel industries.

Motherboard supplier Micro Star International Co., Ltd. has spent around NT$80 million (US$2.5 million at US$1:NT$32) to develop of intelligent robots over the past three years and debuted a product dubbed the E2R-H3. This robot can see objects surrounding it and a small display panel on its body shows what it sees. Also, the robot can play music and motion pictures, as well as identify human faces.

Most of world's leading suppliers of intelligent robots use motherboards from chipset vendor VIA Technologies, whose industrial-motherboard business unit supplies the products.

EMSNow - News Publishing


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