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76 .

Exploratory Workshop on the Social Impacts of Robotics

Although exact figures are hard to obtain,

most

knowledge-

able three

observers estimate that to ten times as much as

the the

Japanese are spending from

United

States

on

robotics

and related research. to be spending from two

The Western Europeans to four times as much

are estimated as the U. S.

Certainly the

corporate

heavily involved.

Fiat,

giants Renault,

of Europe Olivetti,

and Japan are

and

Volkswagen

have all developed their own firms are marketing a wide

robots,

and

many

other European

variety

of

very

sophisticated

robots.

In

Japan,

Kawasaki,

Hitachi,

Yasakawa,

Fanuc,

and

Misubitshi gressively

all have major

marketing

a

research laboratories and wide variety of industrial

are ag– robots.

Fanuc has teamed competitive line

up of

with Siemens robots under

of Germany to market a very the name General Numeric.

European and Japanese university efforts are heavily

subsi-

dized

by

the

respective

governments

and

university-industry

collaboration

is

very

close.

Many

university

research

la–

boratories are elaborately equipped machine tools and the best robots.

with Many

the of

most modern N/C

these

machines

are donated salaries and

by

private

overhead

makes

industry.

Government support for

it

possible

for

the

universities

in

Europe

and

programs. the lack

Even of U.

Japan to sustain large and coherent research

if S.

the total U. S. effort

centers

of

excellence

were

equivalent,

supported

on

a

con-

sistent long disadvantage.

term basis

would

The fact

is, U.

put the U. S. at a S. robotics research

serious efforts

are our

neither better funded nor better organized

overseas

trading

partners.

The

Japanese

than have

those of made the

development of the automatic factory a

national

policy.

European

research

is

high priority item heavily subsidized

the government funds. treated as crucial to

In both places robotics technology national economic development.

of by is

IMPLEMENTATION

In the robots

United States installed.

at present, there

That’s

less

than

are the

only about 3000 number of workers

employed than the

in a single factory in many companies.

graduating

class

of

some

high

schools

in

That’s less

this

coun-

try. for

Today, there

is a

real

robots.

So

bigger market for

at

least

for

the

toy

robots

present,

robots

than

are

having almost no effect one ductivity in this country. in the United States at the

way or

another on

overall pro-

Today,

robots are

being produced

rate

of

about

1500

per

year.

Predictions are 20,000 and 60,000

that this

will

probably grow to

between

robots per

year by

the year 1990.

In oth-

er 10

words the production

to

30

per

decade.

At

rate that

is growing at about a factor of

rate

the

U.

S.

will

be

lucky

to

have a

This

means

presently

million robots in that unless there projected trends,

operation before is some drastic

the year 2000.

change

in

the

there

won’t

be

enough

robots

in

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