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Taiwan, France team up on robotics research project

2012/05/04 17:33:15

Taipei, May 4 (CNA) National Taiwan University (NTU) and three of France's top research institutes have teamed up to develop intelligent robots over the next five years, university officials said Friday.

NTU President Lee Si-chen announced the plan at the inauguration ceremony for an international center for intelligent robotics and automation research, which was established by the two sides at the Taipei-based university.

Explaining the reasons for setting up the center, Lee said universities should aim "not only to produce papers, but also to solve social problems" and cooperate with industries to carry out their creative ideas.

The establishment of the center not only heralds a more integrated academic cooperation between Taiwan and the European Union, but also closer ties between universities and industries, Lee added at the event that was attended by Vice President Vincent Siew.

The five-year project will be funded by NTU, Taiwan's National Science Council, the French National Center for Scientific Research, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, and Universite Pierre et Marie Curie.

Twenty five companies and local research institutes have also signed agreements to cooperate with the center to develop intelligent robots, and NTU hopes to expand the number to 50 by the end of the year, said project director Luo Ren-chuan.

The project will focus on developing the various technologies required to build intelligent robots for manufacturing, medical care and services needs, Luo said.

He said robots can also be used to perform highly dangerous or dirty jobs.

He said the technologies will aim to strengthen the perceptive, cognitive, learning, adaptive, control and planning abilities of robots, as well as their ability to interact with human beings.

Luo added that he hopes Taiwan can become an important center in the world for the design, making and use of intelligent robots by 2020.

"It's really a major event. We are taking the relationship between France and Taiwan a big step forward," said Olivier Richard, director of the Bureau Francais de Taipei.

"I hope this example will be followed not only for the sake of the advancement of human knowledge, but also to show that common laboratories between Taiwan and France, Taiwan and Europe are possible, feasible and also desirable," said Richard.

Raja Chatila, deputy director of the Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies under the French National Center for Scientific Research, said he is optimistic about the future development of the center.

Through the cooperation, Chatila said that he believes "this center will soon become one of the world's major centers for robotics," aiming toward novel scientific research and application.

Meanwhile, Vice President Vincent Siew said the establishment of the center is not only good news for NTU, but also for Taiwanese companies.

He said Taiwanese firms will have to upgrade their technologies if they wish to transform, therefore robotics and automation technologies could be important to these companies in the future.

(By Christie Chen)