The robotics roadmap

The use of Robotics, Automation and Sensing (RAS) systems is significantly changing the way we do things. But the New Zealand Robotics, Automation and Sensing (NZRAS) network believes collaboration is missing from the equation – a RAS roadmap for the industry hopes to fix this.

Funded by Kiwinet, NZRAS researchers and Callaghan Innovation have created the roadmap – identifying more than 84 developers, 43 integrators, 870 researchers, and over 350 estimated end users of RAS in New Zealand. It shows that the country currently employs 3,200 people in the sector that generates $1 billion in annual revenue.

“This indicates that there is a strong RAS industry in New Zealand. However, the New Zealand RAS ecosystem appears to be very fragmented with multiple disconnects across organisations and sectors, leading to potentially duplicated efforts and ineffective collaborations,” states the roadmap.

“This fragmentation is likely the result of poor RAS visibility overall, which can lead to poor adoption rates, misinformed public opinions, and poor international investment and collaboration.”

Dr Shen Hin Lim, NZRAS chair and University of Waikato researcher, says the roadmap is a launchpad for better collaboration across the sector.

“There is a lot of work happening in the sector in New Zealand, but currently it is quite scattered and not very well connected. We want to improve that to ensure we make the most out of both research and development and investment.

“The formation of a common vision is vital for New Zealand to prosper.”

Providing a full overview of the RAS sector, including all public and private businesses and institutions involved, the roadmap shows that New Zealand is forging a reputation in robotics and automation for horticulture, forestry, agriculture, aquaculture, and healthcare – each sector having more than 10 actively growing companies.

The two main sectors where RAS is integrated and developing are manufacturing (29% of RAS businesses), and services (23% of RAS businesses).

The roadmap is the first of its kind and will act as a benchmark for the development of RAS in New Zealand.

Did you know?

  • New Zealand’s Robotics, Automation and Sensing (RAS) ecosystem has over 84 developers, 43 integrators, and 70 RAS researchers.
  • It is conservatively estimated that the developer and integrator companies generate more than NZD $1.1 billion in annual revenue and employ over 3,200 individuals.
  • RAS in New Zealand has an estimated 350+ users.
  • The total number of industrial robot arms installed globally is estimated to be more than 50% of New Zealand’s current population of five million.
  • RAS systems are becoming more developed, meaning rapidly decreasing prices of such technology and more competition between the systems and parts suppliers.
  • The country has seen 300% growth over the past decade of RAS-qualified individuals.

Header image credit: Design Energy