The Neotia University (TNU) was established in February 2015 vide the West Bengal State Government Act XXIII of 2014. Though TNU is relatively new in its present configuration, it has its antecedents in a 13 year old institution Institute of Technology and Marine Engineering (ITME), a college established in 2002 and affiliated to the then West Bengal University of Technology, which is now known as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT).
This decade is witnessing the fastest growth in the field of Automation. The rapid development and raft advancement of technologies like ubiquitous computing, electronic sensing, intelligent data processing, mobile computing are the reason behind this. Everything from home to workplace is automating. People start living in smart cities for their comfort, safer and happier life surrounded by an ecosystem of technologies. Smart Robots, being connected to machines with a wide range of capabilities, are becoming an inevitable part of the sustainable and connected intelligence of smart city ecosystems, whether they are smart factories, smart homes, and smart transportation or communication systems.
The industrial revolution we are experiencing now is referred to as Industry 4.0, i.e., each and every machine connected to cloud. This has become possible with the advancements of smart manufacturing incorporating robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), which has enabled a new level of accuracy and productivity beyond human ability. It is impossible to discuss the future of automation without robots. New generation Robots will play a major role in this automated world. But many people are concern on the issue that robot will significantly hurt the job sector. Therefore, for the new generation, on the verge of joining in the professional course the big question is how to navigate this automation issue? What are the skills needed to tackle this monumental shift in the technology? Who will be the engineers have value in this emerging automated world?
"The future of robotics engineering offers a range of opportunities for professionals entering the field"
We will still need engineer who can deal with the new systems. Just like the early 20th century there was a shift from farm work to factory work. Therefore, almost every sector will need new kinds of workers: those who can design automation and robotics; and those who can adapt and maintain the new equipment. Millions of new jobs will be created over the next decade as a direct result of automation and artificial intelligence, according to Forrester Research. But the career opportunities for this newly emerging field required interdisciplinary knowledge of hardware, software and firmware. Industry, therefore, is looking for the graduate engineers with specialized futuristic courses like Robotics Engineering, Cyber security Engineering, Cloud Computing engineering. which differ widely from the conventional engineering courses.
Research firm International Data Corp's (IDC) recently predicts 35 percent of leading organizations in logistics, health, utilities, and resources will explore the use of robots to automate operations by 2019.
India is an upcoming potential market for this robotics and automation industry with a worldwide market share of approximately 15 per cent. Robots can also be effective in areas where shortage of skilled manpower. Significant application opportunities exist in the emerging robotics sectors, from production line robots to specialized robots in the medical, military, and automotive industries. The future of robotics engineering will certainly offer a range of opportunities for professionals entering the field. It is a fact that, whether people like it or not, the robots are advancing steadily and threatening to change everything in their path. The IDC predicts that investment on robotics will grow at a rate of 22.8 percent per year over the next 4 years as technology advancements enable companies to deploy robots in new areas outside of the more traditional industrial manufacturing processes.
But people in India are not very much aware of robots as they rarely come across them in day to day life. People see them as a part of industrial workforce or in movies or in articles and magazines related to it. So they have myths or misconceptions about robots which they gather from unreliable sources and further propagated by media.
Robots are often portrayed in film as similar looking to human (called humanoid) which in reality is hardly used because of inconvenience. People got a believe that robots have became more intelligent than human as with AI machines besting people at chess, trivia, and other mental competitions, which is not true always. Machines are programmed to learn from human experiences, recognize patterns and respond to unfamiliar situations are other necessary measures of intelligence, and robots haven't caught up to us in those categories yet.
While it is true that increased automation will lead to the extinction of many jobs from bank tellers to telemarketers and this issue may blow out of proportion. But, history of civilization teaches that future technological development is also play a hand in job creation.
However, Government needs to establish clear policies and measures to guarantee employment and ensure that this revolution does not affect our economy. Also it needs some investments from the government or its subsidiary bodies to survive the robotics industry. Government of India has already started encouraging with high budget allocation to help research and skilling in Robotics, AI and IoT, among others. Few entrepreneurs have just started manufacturing robots in India. But this needs a lot more to come up and invest big brands of India to achieve the success of 'make in India' robot.
While we may not foresee the future, one thing can say for sure robots are here to stay, they are improving fast, and are going to change our future, which will eventually have need of a huge number of skilled young professionals in 2020 and beyond.