App. B—Commissioned Background Papers
Daiwa Securities America Inc.
ORGANIZATION OF ROBOTIC RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Research on robotics in Japan is conducted by three major types of institutions --colleges and universities, national and public research institutes, and research laboratories of private firms. The number of robot research laboratories in universities and public research institutions
grew from 43 in 1974 to 85 in 1980.
In fiscal 1979, the universities spent
100 million yen (or about $.5 million) on robot research and the public research institutes about 220 million yen (about $ 1 million) . This total
of about $ 14 million is hardly a very large amount. But this statistic
expenditures” and 270 researchers at
is therefore colleges and
a substantial under- universities and 80
researchers at institutes worked on robots concentrated on theoretical problems, many
Public research has have direct and
its grip per holds and modularization ability.
nothing) , improved of robots, sensory
positioning accuracy, simplification perception, pattern recognition
The expenditure of private enterprises on robots has not been made public but up to now has been the overwhelming source of robotic R & D. Of the 107 robot manufacturers surveyed by JIRA in 1979, twenty had a specialized robot research division in their in-house research laboratories, while another fifty-two without a special robot research division had one or more researchers specializing in robot research.
The private research laboratories have concentrated on R & D most closely linked to application–-increased speed, miniaturization, computer control, weight reduction and modularization (development of inter- changeable robots) .
A major change has just occurred--MITI announced a seven year Y 30 billion national robot research program to begin April 1, 1982. MITI will create a new R & D group to carry out the program whose purpose is to make robots suitable for a wider application and to develop Japanese
robot technology instead of
relying on imported American and West is to be placed on intelligent robots especially
for assembly work, moving industries.
and on robots for nuclear, space, oceanic, and earth- The development of sensory perception, language
systems, and motional capacity are to is called a nationally important major
receive top priority. This program technology development scheme.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS
This section expresses the Japanese views on this topic and is greatly indebted to Mr. Yonemoto of JIRA, Japan’s most prominent authority on this subject. Industrial robots have three major characteristics which, in large measure, determine their socio-economic impact.