What Hinders The Growth Of Robotics In India

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, May 13, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    All over the world, countries are taking to robotics with full strength and might. Even the population-heavy China has been working on robotics like never before. But it is quite surprising that India, a country that took to Information Technology like a fish takes to water, is somewhat lagging in picking up robotics.

    It has been quite a while since robotics entered the mainstream. However, India is yet to wake up to the advanced trend. But what causes this lethargy, you may very well ask. Well, the answer isn't simple or straightforward, to say the least. For one, industrialisation is not easy or commonplace in agrarian economy-centred country like India. The country essentially features what the world calls an 'old and traditional' economy, where traditional knowledge and age-old practices are still alive to a large extent. Yet, modern economy has also remained sound and strong in this country, thanks to the large talent pool and focus on education in the recent times.

    India's phenomenal success in the IT space was fairytale stuff - it was a 'never before, never after' kind of opportunity that the country was quick to identify and seize. The Indian government, with its futuristic approach, welcomed the new trend with open arms and created the space for IT to grow at different levels. Within decades, computers have turned into household devices and Indian professionals have managed to build up a global reputation.

    Although one success should trigger another, it seems to be a different story here in India. While the world has gone to great lengths to experiment with robotics and explore the possibilities of creating newer economies by leveraging the subject knowledge, India's response has been lukewarm, at best.

    In a country where education is the sole focus of almost all middle-class households who form a large chunk that leads the urban economy, any futuristic discipline with application possibilities at industrial level should be lapped up eagerly. Nevertheless, robotics hasn't quite taken off here.

    Of course, there is a school here and a summer camp there talking about robotics, and there is one dedicated institution teaching the discipline. But it is yet to gain a comprehensive outlook in India. The industrial scope and application seem a distant possibility as the human-resource rich India doesn't see, at least not on its own soil, the chances of robotic knowledge becoming a part of human existence.

    To begin with, we still require an organised effort to integrate the discipline into our current education system. There is hardly any vocational course dedicated to teaching robotics at school/college level. Engineering graduates cannot opt for robotics as a separate stream, but can choose to specialise in it after graduation. And that is a real downer. The Indian Institute of Robotics is probably the lone dedicated institution for the development of this discipline. But just one facility can hardly meet the requirements of the growing population of young people who are willing to explore new avenues in this space.

    In contrast, new openings have come up in sectors such as transportation, defence & security, weather and environment, artificial intelligence, mobile OS and home applications, especially when it comes to providing support to the aged/terminally ill/people with special needs.

    India's strategy for industrial development has witnessed a paradigm shift since 1991. Employment generation and disbursal of economic benefits across the classes not covered by the progress indicators have been the main concern. With the focus on manufacturing, India is looking at pharma, biotechnology, infrastructure and food processing as the main areas of investment and growth. Although robotics can well be a beneficiary of the growth curve, along these sectors, the most tangible reason as to why it may never happen in the near future is anybody's guess.

    Employment generation for the growing urban population, along with controlling migration from rural areas as people move to cities in search of livelihood, has many repercussions on the urban landscape. Consequently, the authorities have been spreading out industrial corridors and SEZs in areas where progress has remained a mirage. One application of robotics is the production of high-efficiency robots and those can be leveraged for a longer period of time to enhance productivity. But then, the government will have to come up with the right strategy and create livelihood options for all those people who would be displaced as a result of 'robotisation.'

    This is the real crux of the problem. Another issue that has been bothering every other sector is 'zero' government backing. The Indian government is treading with great caution in this industrial biosphere and would not want to upset the applecart when it comes to 'human first' policies.

    As of now, interest in robotics is a personal choice and individuals are focusing more on the self-discovery methods in order to make significant progress in this field. This is the same learning curve that propelled IT to a position of strength in India. And a similar approach may ensure growth in the robotics sector well, especially with the government's encouragement.

    What Hinders The Growth Of Robotics In India | Business Insider India
     
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  3. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    DRDO
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    this is what established by drdo for robotics
     
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  4. praneet.bajpaie

    praneet.bajpaie Regular Member

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    Maybe the Mods can spin off a different thread but I wanted to start a thread about the Heavy Industries/Engineering/Capital Goods/High tech industry in India. What can the country do to develop these?

    Can someone make a thread in the appropriate place who might have some knowledge.

    As I often say to my friends, its better to make the machine that makes the textiles than to make the textile itself. Our Government has to take the call here. Do we want ourselves to be clubbed with countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan or be like China, Germany, etc.

    I would of course prefer the latter.
     
  5. praneet.bajpaie

    praneet.bajpaie Regular Member

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  6. praneet.bajpaie

    praneet.bajpaie Regular Member

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  7. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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  8. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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  9. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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  10. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well being a computer engg student in a govt institute I think I can tell you what hinders the development of robotics or computer science apps in India.
    It is simply brain drain. and poor backdated syllabus.
    Our country and our educational institutes do produce some of the brightest minds in computer science or for that matter in any field. Sadly none of this bright or creamy layered students stay in India and work for the Indian or government institutes. Majority of IITians and JUtians flock to UK,Canada and yes the great US of A. The people left back usually take up the sarkaari jobs(people like me I think) and they end up doing more harm than good to the development of the sciences. Also a lot of talent is wasted due to the mugging up nature of our syllabi.

    A personal tale would be that of one senior from our college who managed to achieve great success in computer science. He even got a scholarship from the government and of course internships from Yahoo and Amazon. Sadly after completing the course he ditched the scholarship and went abroad and that was the last we heard of him in India.

    On the positive side the growth of robotics and its development in India is indeed now taking place at a much swifter pace than before. Every year IIT and some govt colleges across India(one like ours) are organizing robotics seminar and displays. Just last year I and some of my friends devised a small aeroplane model(of course one that can fly and runs on household batteries). However it was really challenging for us. The biggest challenge that we computer students actually face is the syllabus taught to us. In Indian computer science courses we hardly have much emphasis on electronics part. We do have papers on electronics.(about 4 papers on that in JU). However the thing that we are taught is not sufficient to enable us to produce electronic gadgets without consulting books.

    Robotics is a subject that involves both computing and electronic knowledge. A robot runs on a pre-coded information which a programmer devises. The electronics part of the robot is also crucial. If a person has knowledge of both subjects then it is quite useful. Otherwise the programming part has to be done by one and the electronics part by another person. This creates subtle problems. What is good in programming sense may not be good for electronic sense.For those who know this suppose a programmer designs his robot on using a swift algorithm that uses lot of logic gates but runs faster. On the other hand the electronics guy prefers a machine that has fewer gates,is easier to build and is cheap. Of course a clash of ideas will occur. So what is the solution that our engineers of India take. Since neither of them know much about each others subject they take a lazy approach. They immediately search for a pre made foreign model and copy that model. Their innovation and ideas come to an end.

    Our syllabus should be made in such a way that it helps those who want to take up robotics as their secondary focus beside programming. Sadly we have a very rigid syllabus with few scopes of innovation or improvisation. As one of our professors told us that in India students should not be prevented from cheating and copying from others in exams. This is because that is the job a lot of computer engineers of India end up doing in future after their placements. Sitting in AC offices and copying algorithms and programming ideas from the net or from foreign programmers. Their talent is completely wasted. Really pathetic.:sad:
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  11. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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  12. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Peter
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    I agree with you
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    not only robotics but also all fields lacks because of poor and outdated syllabus
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    psychology professor once said that syllabus for graduation of psychology was used to teach in american and british universities way back in 1930s
     
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  13. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    reply number #8 by me shows hexagonal robot and snake robots unveiled in defexpo 2012
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    so simply , india is developing its own robots and making progress with steady rate
     
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  14. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Here in some govt colleges(not JU though which has a decent approach on programming part. JU has a good CSE faculty unlike Shibpur) some students are being taught C and C++ now even after the basic introduction has been done. Modern languages like Python is not being taught. Fortunately my college does not do that in programming part. However majority do. Also innovation is strictly forbidden in Indian colleges. When someone tries to do something different(like one of my friends tried once) instead of encouragement they only get demoralizing and mean words. The professors tell them to instead study and get good marks as it would help them in their placements. Compare this to US universities and one will realize why they produce pioneers and we produce followers. The negative approach kills talent.

    On the other hand the professors too have a point. In India very few people can become successful innovators. Mostly our "innovators" die of hunger and poverty(Ramanuja style).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  15. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Fortunately some of our IITians are now joining DRDO,BHEL etc . This is a good news indeed. Even one senior from JU joined BHEL couple of years back. They are helping the country a lot by their brains. I think they deserve a salute as they have resisted the temptation to go to US and instead served the country. Hope we will have more of such people in the future.
     
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  16. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    Technology does not exist in a vacuum. Technological advancement is founded on a pyramidal model where you have a massive base of basic science research which then gets filtered upward into translational science and finally application at the apex. This framework then has to be facilitated by an established model of government- academic and private sector partnership. Intellectual property and financing are two key components that have to be managed by the facilitators. On the production side industries have to accumulate a significant skill set to complete the industrial model.
    A study of industrialization starting with Western Europe, North America, Japan, S Korea and now China clearly shows that it takes decades to accomplish this task and all steps have to take place simultaneously. In India’s case it is this simultaneous development that has been the problem IMO. Everything is fine in bits and pieces- good universities, ample funding from government, talented private sector operative etc. but somehow it just doesn’t come together.
    One of the biggest setbacks to technological advancement in India has been the inculcation of the “leap frogging” theory. This theory emanated from a groundbreaking study on wireless telecom revolution in the late 90s supported by cherry picked examples like India’s space program and minor advances in automobile manufacturing. The theory postulates that Indian industries can bypass the ill effects of decade long governmental mismanagement responsible for stunting the pyramid’s base, and leapfrog into advanced technology to catch up with China or what have you. This theory was immediately lapped up by all industries but has proven to be both wrong and disastrous. This is precisely why you cannot start talking about robotics unless you first establish a rock solid foundation of material science industry backed up with industries specializing in electronics, mechanical engineering, design etc.
    Over the past few decades China has been investing heavily into establishing the pyramid base (primarily via industrial espionage) and establishing sound industrial practices. My prediction is that we will see a steep rise in the quality and complexity of Chinese products in the next 2 decades. India however has not made this investment.
    I interact with a lot of scientists and professionals (in my field) who migrate from India. Based on my understanding of brain drain I have no doubt that the superior lifestyle offered by developed nations is a major factor in the decision to emigrate, however one of the primary reason most highly qualified immigrants do not return to India is due to the lack of infrastructure which is required for them to be productive in their field.
    I don’t think technological progress will take hold in India until the government invests in a robust infrastructure and simultaneously removes all the barriers they have erected through decades of misplaced socialist ideals.
     
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  17. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    ROFL

    Indian 'success' in IT are zero-innovation IT service companies. Real innovation requires top-notch engineering talent along with truckloads of money

    C/C++ is the real deal. Any CPU-intensive algo is going to be written in C/C++ or at max Java.

    There is nothing 'modern' about Python. What's good about it is that it's not verbose, you can build things quickly with it. However, it falls flat in performance. A garbage-collected interpreted language cannot hold a candle to compiled language with manual memory management like C/C++. All of Python's high performance components are written as C extensions

    There are some modern high performance languages though (Go and Rust come to mind)

    ==
    =======================================================================================

    IMO joining BHEL, DRDO is a waste. It's better to start your own company or join a startup now that VC funding has started trickling in.

    @Energon Check out this Delhi based startup - Grey Orange Robotics. They got funding from Tiger Global and Blume:

    After Flipkart, Tiger Global bets on Indian robot maker Grey Orange Robotics - The Economic Times
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  18. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well C is a bit outdated. You may say Java is the best compared to everything. There are many problems in C. One that immediately comes to my mind is that of array size in C and Java. Also remember the trouble one will have in strings with C. IMO Java is best(not bcoz I am more suited to Java lol).

    All I was wanting to say was that python is the latest craze among programmers of this age and Indian cse students should have a basic knowledge about it.
     
  19. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well in India very few people have the money to start up their own companies. So the next best thing is to join BHEL or DRDO.
     
  20. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    Saar, there are some major differences between Java and C/C++. Java is an interpreted language, while the latter is compiled, no matter how much you optimize you'll never get the same performance. Sun's HotSpot JIT (Just In Time compiler) is pretty good though. Another difference is memory management. Pointers vs Garbage Collection, Pointers win no matter how annoying they are.

    Complex computer games, device drivers, large applications, sophisticated algorithms or basically anything which requires high performance WILL be written in C/C++.

    Python is pretty good in certain cases and very useful to just learn programming.

    As I said, make use of VC funding or join an existing startup. BHEL, DRDO means complete waste of talent. It's better to immigrate to American where some $$ will flow into India via remittance :p
     
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  21. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    What you are saying is correct. I know there is no good or bad language. Each has its own purpose and is used according to need. Believe me I have done a little bit of programming. In India programmers need to do simple stuff. For that Java is more than enough. Well only IITians who end up in Google,Microsoft etc need more than that. We are generally employed in places where web development or apps related to that are required. For that Java is essential since it`s generally used for web development. For Microsoft programmes or platform C# is used. So I prefer Java but yes for other things C/C++ is good.
     

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