Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has set up a S$45 million, Centre for Advanced Robotics Technology Innovation (CARTIN) to develop “affordable, safe and user-friendly” robotic technologies.
Professor Xie Lihua, professor of electrical and electronic engineering at NTU, has been appointed as director of CARTIN.
Professor Chen I-Ming from NTU and Professor Cecilia Laschi from the National University of Singapore (NUS) will join him as co-directors.
CARTIN is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) under its medium-sized centre funding scheme, which seeks to consolidate research activities across departments, faculties, and universities to create a critical mass of leading researchers in strategic research areas for Singapore.
The university said in a statement that researchers at CARTIN will develop collaborative and human-centric robotics and autonomous system technologies, which will be applied in the areas of logistics, manufacturing, and eldercare.
“This is in line with Singapore’s Research, Innovation, and Enterprise 2025 plans, in which robotics is one of the national priorities,” the statement said.
NTU President, Professor Subra Suresh, said CARTIN was a “natural extension of NTU’s work to add to the existing robotics and autonomous systems research efforts in Singapore and create a critical mass for the development and deployment of ground-breaking and innovative technologies”.
CARTIN aims to create an ecosystem that brings together research entities with industry partners and public agencies to identify the gaps to be plugged and provide a testbed for these robotics solutions, the university said.
The research centre will draw upon the expertise of scientists at NTU’s Connected Smart Mobility Lab, Robotics Research Centre, Centre for Systems Intelligence and Efficiency, and the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of Autonomous Vehicles.
Researchers at CARTIN will collaborate with their counterparts from NUS and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) in areas such as automated guided vehicles used in ports and warehouses which are currently guided by infrastructure-based navigation systems such as magnetic tracks laid on the ground. The aim is to make them easier to operate and more flexible.
In the manufacturing sector, one of the focus areas would be to develop algorithms and techniques that allow multiple robots and humans to work together in factories.
In eldercare, CARTIN scientists are aiming to design, develop and test solutions for embedding robotic assistance with more robust adaptability to care for the elderly in home and clinical settings.