Robotics looking for a mobilizing project

4th Innovation Days: Robotics looking for a mobilizing project

Recognized as a dynamic sector in terms of research and in connection with science education, Robotics in Portugal has a development potential that the Portuguese Robotics Society wants to stimulate, identifying skills and helping to create opportunities. Information that in the future could be transformed into a mobilizing plan with economic objectives.

“In recent years Portugal has gained enormous competencies with developments in terms of quality and quantity in Research and Development in Robotics”, underlined Pedro Lima, president of the Portuguese Robotics Society (SPR), but “an integrated strategy for the sector is lacking. national».

The idea was conveyed at the conference organized alongside the 4th Innovation Days, which took place in the last days at FIL, where SPR tried to bring together elements of the community to discuss the most relevant themes that can contribute to the White Paper that is being prepared and which is also aimed at companies with a view to creating economic results.

Robotics also has a significant weight in the exhibition of the Jornadas, occupying an extensive area where projects of companies and universities are shown, and which ends up attracting a lot of public. CHICO, the humanoid robot of the RobotCub project that is being developed at the Institute of Systems and Robotics of IST, is one of the ones that most audience captured during the days.

The White Paper initiative, which is under development, should materialize in a document that is called “Robotics on the Map”, but Pedro Lima does not want to risk any date for its completion.

For the moment eight focal areas of robotics development have been identified, for which the positive points are pointed out, but also the negative ones, and the flaws that have to be addressed.

From advanced production systems, health care and visa quality, to networked robotics and smart homes, the analysis of the various sectors shows that developments exist at the technological level, sometimes also in the interest of companies, as well as the ability to product development in specific cases. But the flaws are often in the lack of interaction between the entities, as well as in the companies’ bet.

“Many large national companies buy turnkey technology abroad, instead of stimulating national development”, criticizes Pedro Lima, despite admitting that this problem is not exclusive to this sector.

Jorge Manuel Miranda Dias, from the Pedro Nunes Institute, shares the same idea. «Research has a disruptive capacity and unfortunately there are no companies to take advantage of that capacity», he stresses. «At this moment, it is necessary to capitalize on the knowledge that exists at the University to create mechanisms to create economic opportunities», he adds. The vice-president of the Institute therefore proposes that after the White Paper this information should be transformed into a plan to mobilize national potential for economic purposes.

While recognizing the potential that exists and the economic opportunities in the sector, because “the market is huge”, Paulo Monteiro from ABB Robótica warns, however, that there is still a long way to go and that it remains to guarantee reliability and safety, which was achieved in industrial robotics for the isolation of the elements. “Whoever starts and manages to overcome these issues is guaranteed to have a very important position in this market”, but it is necessary to invest.

Fatima Hunter