World RoboCup promises giant leap for digital economy
Robot armies from 45 nations have descended on Thailand to compete in World RoboCup 2022 and deliver industrial solutions for the digital economy and smart city.
The tournament kicked off on Thursday at Bitec Bangna Exhibition hall, co-hosted and organised by Mahidol University's Faculty of Engineering, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the International RoboCup Federation, and WHA Corporation Pcl.
Peter Stone, president of the International RoboCup Federation, explained that the World RoboCup had originated with the objective of promoting global research and development in robotics, starting in 1997.
He added that World RoboCup 2022 will feature teams with over 3,000 participants from 45 countries around the world, including the USA, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China and Thailand.
All competitors will battle it out with their diverse range of robotic solutions, showcasing various forms of cyber-intelligence.
Finalists will receive plaques, and certificates will be presented to competition entrants, giving them international-level professional opportunities in the robotics industry.
The event has two categories -- Major League and Junior League (RCJ).
The Major League has four sub-categories: a robot football tournament (RoboCupSoccer), a rescue robot competition (RoboCupRescue), a competition for a domestic home robot for personal service (RoboCup@Home) and a contest for robotic arms used in industry (RoboCupIndustrial).
The Junior League (RoboCupJunior or RCJ) is for youngsters from 14 to 19 years old to show off their inventions and innovations. All can be seen from July 13-17 at Bitec Bangna Hall EH98-100.
Jackrit Suthakorn, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University, and chairman of the 25th edition of RoboCup 2022, said that the tournament's objective is to stimulate exchange and growth of research into cybernetic technology, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.
"We also aim to train expert personnel with capabilities in AI and robotics, by stimulating the domestic development of engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers and students," Jackrit added.
Besides the World Robocup 2022, the organisers also will display a number of robot and AI exhibitions, showcasing products in the categories of smart equipment, robots, and electronic control systems, as well as innovations in artificial intelligence and autonomous systems from leading global robotic technology firms.
The event will demonstrate innovation updates in various fields, such as medical, logistics, and the development of industrial estates, public infrastructure, agriculture, and energy on digital platforms.
Meanwhile, the event provides a "Robotics Startup" and pitching session, giving opportunities for startups to consult national-level experts, building networks of private sector firms, investors and leading universities, both inside Thailand and abroad, to promote the robotics industry.
Also, participants can listen and exchange ideas on various aspects of robotic technology with international experts and academics via an academic forum called RoboCup Symposium.
Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, said robotics is a crucial opportunity for Thailand to create startups of use in industry, building huge economic value for the country, which can be an incentive for investment from all over the world. Thailand has now greatly increased its potential in robotics and must continue to grow from the current prototype stage.
“The government has put in place policies to promote startups and give them the capabilities to compete internationally, for example, a 10-year break on capital gains tax for both Thai and foreign investors investing in Thai startups in the 12 target industries," Chaiwut added.
The Digital Council of Thailand forecasts that the capital gains tax break will attract increased investments in startups of 320 billion baht in 2026, generating both direct and indirect employment and creating over 400,000 positions, as well as strengthening the domestic economy with a value of 790 billion baht.
Danuch Tanterdtid, the Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, noted the event was a golden opportunity to enhance the educational sector, particularly with regard to engineering courses in robotics and associated technology, as well as Thai startup businesses, that will create career opportunities for the quality engineers driving Thailand into the future.
He believed that by preparing Thai students from a young age and encouraging startups, the country will smoothly enter the age of economics driven by innovation, or the Innovative Economy under the Thailand 4.0 model, which has the objective of sustainable economic development.
The robotics industry is currently valued at more than 350.4 billion baht. The global market is expected to grow to 1.7 trillion baht in the next five years, confirming the importance of the industry to Thailand's economy in the future.
Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, chairman and group CEO of WHA Corporation Pcl, expressed confidence that innovation in robotics and autonomous systems developed by the competitors from Thailand and 44 other countries will advance every sector, including manufacturing.