The huge bipartisan Industrial Policy Bill matters for robotics



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The huge bipartisan Industrial Policy Bill matters for robotics

Siasun is a leading enterprise in Chinese robotic industry. IFR showed that China reached a robot density of 187 units per 10,000 workers in the manufacturing industry.

China is poised to dominate the industrial robotics market of the future, due to its national plan for technological supremacy and the billions of dollars the Chinese government has invested in critical technologies, compared with the US’ focus on private-sector development. The “Made in China 2025” plan started as a 10-year vision of shifting China from a low-end manufacturer to a high-end producer of goods, with the outcome making China dominant in global high-tech manufacturing. This requires China to transition the country’s existing manufacturing infrastructure and labor market towards producing specialized output, R&D, and emphasizing technological innovation. The overarching goal of the Made in China 2025 vision is to become the global leader in product and markets including electric cars, new energy vehicles, next-generation information technology (IT), telecommunications, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence. These sectors are the pillars of what is now the fourth industrial revolution, referring to big data, cloud computing and other emerging technologies into global manufacturing supply chains. China, with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will revive the ancient Silk Road to ignite and unify trade with a robust infrastructure including road, rail, and pipeline to connect China, Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Recently, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), released the 2021 updated paper of “World Robotics R&D Programs.” IFR referenced the Made in China 2025 blueprint in key special projects of “intelligent Robots” being deployed in accordance with the requirements of the “Innovation Chain.” The focus is on basic cutting-edge technologies of intelligent robots, next-generation robots, key common technologies, industrial robots, service robots and special robots. China wants to cultivate at least three leading enterprises with international competitiveness and create more than five clusters of robot-supporting industries. China budgeted US$577 million for 2019 alone in robotic development. Continual growth in the industrial scale has an annual yield of self-branded industrial robots reaching 100,000 sets, and industrial robots with 6 or more axis tops 50,000 in a year. Annual revenues of service robots exceed US$4.3 billion. Comparatively, the IFR coverage of the US robotics report lists a budget of 32 million for 2020 in the National Robotics Initiative 2.0: Ubiquitous Collaborative Robot (NRI-2.0) — it’s a ludicrous amount compared to China’s staggering capital investment.

The Chinese government has been reaching out to many Silicon Valley technology companies to encourage them to setup shop in China, offering lavish financial support and generous incentives. RIOS was one of the companies that were offered deals to expand in China but received no such offer from our own government. Today, we’re proud, as Americans, that the US Senate is passing a huge industrial policy bill to counter the threat from China. Both parties are embracing to invest in semiconductor manufacturing, artificial intelligence research, robotics, quantum computing as well as a range of other technologies.

What makes this bill unusual is the amount of bipartisan support and the uniting of political parties which highlights and counteracts the urgent threats in both commercial and military competition. The senate overwhelmingly passed legislation by 68–32 vote that would pour nearly a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years into scientific research and development to bolster industrial and technological competitiveness against China. The new Senate bill is on a course to make a paradigm shift for the US technological industry, and will massively augment the development of the robotics and artificial intelligence fields, as well as a broad range of critical technologies.

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