Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to begin assisting the development of next-generation intelligence robots in fiscal 2007 with the aim of commercializing them in 2015, Jiji Press learned Thursday.
The ministry is set to seek 2.1 billion yen in related funds as part of its budget request for the fiscal year that starts next April, and will assist the development of basic technologies in the next five years, informed sources said.
Intelligence robots are capable of recognizing sounds and images through sensors and of automatically analyzing the obtained information to determine their actions. Conventional industrial robots require input work patterns before they can operate.
For the government-funded development project, the ministry will seek the participation of universities and manufacturers that conduct research into artificial intelligence and sound and image recognition technologies, the sources said.
It hopes to commercialize the newly developed robots by 2015. The robots will include "cleaning robots" that, equipped with the plan of a building, will be able to choose the most appropriate routes to reach areas that need cleaning, and "guide robots" capable of communicating with humans through advanced voice and image processing technologies.
Reflecting a surge in the number of industrial robots in the past 10 years, there are some 840,000 robots operating at present across the globe.
In Japan, the market for industrial robots is expected to expand to around 3 trillion yen over the next decade.
Against this backdrop, the government acknowledges that intelligence robots constitute one of its core strategies for economic growth.