The Corona crisis underlines the important contribution that robots make to industry and society. Research funding programs are essential to make these developments possible.

In this context, the publication of the information paper "World Robotics R&D Programs" by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) on the worldwide research and development programs in the field of robotics is particularly topical and relevant.

The paper makes clear that new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, Big Data and 5G, are driving government funding in Asia, Europe and America. It further highlights  the objectives of officially driven governmental research funding programs and what we can learn from these findings.

"Each country has its own characteristics of robot programs based on its specific background and history," says Prof. Dr. Jong-Oh Park, Vice Chairman of the IFR Research Committee and member of the Executive Committee. "As a result, we see that robotics programs established by the most advanced robotics countries have a very different strategic focus".

Here are a few summaries from that report:

Example Robots and Corona Virus 

In the fight against the corona virus, speed and strength of cooperation are required. Senova, a Thuringian medtech company and leading developer and manufacturer of rapid test systems for marking biomarkers, viruses and microorganisms, relies on the expertise of Omron's robotics experts for its sought-after rapid corona tests. Together with Kraus Maschinenbau GmbH, Senova and Omron have in recent weeks developed and built special machines that speed up and improve the previously very time-consuming manual production of the tests many times over.

Forced by the current development, Senova has succeeded in bringing the first corona antibody rapid tester to market in record time. These tests, which look similar to a pregnancy test in appearance, are manufactured using the eCobra600 robots. Due to increased production volumes, Omron has now delivered two more eCobra600 Pros and integrated them into the production line. The control and drive systems for the cutting and packaging machine are also made by Omron, developed and built by Kraus Maschinenbau GmbH. The first machine was delivered in mid May 2020. Further lines are in planning due to the huge demand.

The new machine can cut and pack 30 to 45 corona quick tests per minute. Since the demand is so great, capacities are now to be increased rapidly with further machines. Currently, the machines run six days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.