Home > Article > The Rise of the Robots In the U S

The Rise of the Robots In the U S

Table of contentsSectionumberIntroductionNational science foundation grant awardNASA Selects Advanced Robotics Projects for DevelopmentHealth and Safety in robot environmentsUniversities with a Robotics ProgramRobot postersGlossary for Robotics and Robot Terms

order to re med y market failures that may hinder inno vation the de ve lopment and app lionew kno w ge Inno vation underpins impro vements in the way capital and labor arecombined to create new products and increase productivity This makes it critical for the broadereconomy and particularly important for manufacturingAn important element oftion is research and de ve lopment(r&Dtesting andD is seen as a key source of innovation and its app lication to neoduc ts and technolo gies The private sector, howe ver, faces disincentives to investing inR&d- it may be expensive, it often fails, willing firms may lack sufficient finances, alsuccessful r&D may produce benefits that the investing firm cannot capture- leading toossible underinvestment in R&d and underproduction in inno vation without go vernesupport These disincentives may be particularly dto overcome for small- and mediumsized enterprises (SME) Though inno vation policy can address market failure across all sectorsthe economy, ad vocates of targeted inno vation policy argue that it may provide particularbenefit to manufacturing

They note that the sector depends on continually creating new ideas forproduc ts and ways to make those products They also observe that manufacturing is a significantsource of r&D: according to the national Science Foundation the sector accounted for 70percent of private-sector spending on r&d in the United States in 2008In practical terms, to support needed inno vation, the government may intervene through variouspolicies, some of which may have a focus on the manufacturing sector These includelb lic support for "basic"R&d in science and engineering, which, while conductewithout specific commercial applications in mind, cansectovation Thethrough governmentscientific agencies public universities and other research institutions because it isunlikely that most private firms would conduct this type of getentially profitab le app lication in mindPub lic support for private-sector"app lied"R&D, research that seeks to solve practicalproblems or develop new products and commercialization Applied R&d is seen as a keycomponent in helping inno vators overcome the so-called"va lley of death, the difficultbetween new ideas andviable manufacturing products or

Subsid iesR&D through direct fundprivate financial markets However, it may be difficult for the government to figure outwhich firms merit subsidy because of the lack of information or foresight into anindividuas groesearch lales, transportation investment, and"knowledge "infrastructure such asbroadband telecotions, the danddatabases, and the dissemination of technical expertise Experts have referred to suchwidely-accessible infras tructure or know ledge as the"industrial commons"that providesa base for inno vation and production, and see investme nt in these commoimportant source of new ideas for products or processes and solutions to existingbleof larcompanies that develop creative products and services, along with specialized suppliers,service providers

universities and associated institutions firms in a cluster may be ableo share know led ge and transact business at lower cost than if they were far apart,ossibly leading to increased inno vation 8licy has not been established; the formation of successfulusters in the United StatesCalifornias Silicon Valley, suggests thatsupport for clusters may not be necessary Government support for manufacturing can alsoinvolve other efforts that support activitiemay suffer from market failureDeve lopment of knowledge and workforce skills, Like investment in R&d, private firmsmay lack the incentive to invest in worker training because the firms may not recoup aboletemore technoha ve highlighted the increased importance of skills training in ad vanced manufacturing,as well as the adaptability of workers and training resources Manufacturing in

tensive fie lds will alsoe a pipe line of workers with ad vanceddegrees in science, technolo gy, engineering, and mathematics A recent study from theBrookings Institution uses the Bureau of Labor Statistics data to project that nearly halfopenings in the US economy over the next decade will be for"middle-skilljobs, those requiring more than high school but less than a college degreePromotion of open trade and global competition, through trade liberalizaprovisinformation, advice, and advocacy for exporters(referred to as exportion of intellectual propelS, de velopment and harmonizationof international tec hno lo gical standards, and the enforcement of trade rules, while freetrade agreements have decreased the significance of tariffs as a trade barrier, soexperts have argued that non-tariff barriers ha ve become increasingly problematic Thesecould inc lude restrictive technical standards, packaging, and local content requirementsamong others Trade policy may be especially critical for manufacturing since the sectormay play a key role in restoring a healthy balance of trade In 2012, Commerce reportedthat in 2010, manufactured goods represented 86 percent ofall Us

goods exported and60 percent of total US exportsIn the United States, the federal government has generally taken the lead in supporting basicresearch, providing the economic framework, and constructing infrastructure Commerceadministers manufacturing programs through sub-agencies such as the National InstituteStandards and Technology (NIST), the Economic De velopment Administration(EDA), and theInternational Trade Administration Other Us agencies support manufacturing as part of theirprogram activities, including the Department of De fense, the Department of Energy, NationalAerocs and Space Administration, and the nationalsFoundation labor administersraining pro gramsaddition, tax breaks such as the r&d tax credit further benefit manufacturers(although theseprovisions do not applyly to manufacturers) States and localities have the mainresponsibility for education and also are most active in promoting regional economidevelopment, inc luding measuresupport innovation

The united s tates has de veloped as a global leadlarge part, through thegineers, and inno vators In a world that's becoming increasinglycre success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with whatth to be equipped with the know ledge andskills to solve tough prob lems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of informationThese are the types of skills that students learn by stud ying science, technology, engineering, andmath subjects collectively known as STEMYet todayAmerican students purserise in STEM fieldsand we have an inadequatpipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects Thats whygh priority to increase thenumber of students and teachers who are proficient in these vital fieldAll young peop le should be prepared to think deeply and to think well so thchance to become the innovators educa tors researc hers and leaders who can solve the mosng challenges facing our nation and our world, both today and tomorrow

But, right nowhave access to quality STEM learning opportunities and too fewstudents see these discip lines as springboards for their careersLink:htps//wwwedgov/stem)The stem plan in briefThe Committee on STEM Education(CoStEMD)a gencies-includingmission-science a gencies and the Department of Education-are facilitating a cohesive nationastrategy, with new and repurposed funds, to increase the impact of federal investments in fivepreschool through 12th grade; 2)increasing andsustaining public and youth engagement with STEM; 3 improving the STEM experience forundergraduate studetter serving groups historically underrepresented in STEMand 5 )designing graduate education for tomorrow's STEM workforceeducation are outlined in the federal, 5-year Strate gic Planfor steM Education and concentrate oving the delivery, impact, and visibility of STEM

fforts Addthe Department of Ethe natio nal sciencSmithsonian Institution are leading efforts to improve outcomes for traditionallyunderrepresented groupsThe health and longevity ofour Nation's, citizenry, economy and environmental resourcesdepend in large part on the acceleration of scientific and technological inno vations, such as thosthat improve health care, inspire new industries, protect the enent, and safe guard us frharm Maintaining Americas historical preeminence in the STEM fields will require a concertedand inclusive effort to ensure that the S TEM work force is equipped with the skills and trainingded to excel in these fields during president obama's firstmultiple strate gies to make progress on improving S TEM educatioMaking stem a priomore of the administration s education efforts the firsstates a competitive preference priority on developing comprehensive strategies tompro ve achie vement and provide rigorous curricula in STEM subjects; partner withlocal stem institutions businesses and museums: and broaden participation of womenand girls and other groups underrepresented in STEM fields Other examples includeSTEM priothe Department of Educations Invest in Inno vation and SupportingEffective Educator De velopment pro grams Prioritizing STEM in existing pro grams atthe Department of Education has the ad vantage of leveraging existing resources andembedding stem withinlI educationSetting ambitious but achie vab le goals and challenging the private sector

PresidentObama announced the goal to prepare 100,000 excellent StEM teachers over the nextdecade in his 201 1 State of the union Address answering this call to action over 150organizations led by the Carnegie Corporation of New York formed a coalition n called100KinlO Members of the coalition have made over 150 commitments to supportSTEM-teacher preparation and had raised over $30 million for this effort In mid-March,the Howard Hughes Medical Institute announced a $22 5 M investment to supportexpansion of the successful UTeach program in support of this goal Additional examples

fields NSF also received $325 million to expand and enhance its graduate fellowshiprograms, including creation of a new National graduate Research Fellowship, using acommon infrastructure at NSF to reach more students and offer a set of opportunitieaddress national needs and mission critical work force needs for the costedThe Smithsonian Institution received $25 million to focus on improving the reachinformal STEM education by ensuring that materials are aligned to what students arelearning in the classroom The Smithsonian worked with nsf, ed, the other costemagencies including the National Aeronautics and sydministration (NASA), Nationalheric Administration(NOAA), US Department ofnterior(OD), US

Department of Agriculture (US DA), National Institutes of Health(NId), andharness the irresources to dis se minatelevant, evidence-based materials and curricula, on-line resources, and de livery anddissemination mechanisms to reach more teac hers and students both ins ide and outsthe classroomAll of the CoS TEM agencies continued to be key players in the re-organized effort All of theseagencies depend upon the cultivation of a talented and well-trained work force in order to meetheir STEM-related missions, and all of them play a critical role in insp iring and training the nextgeneration of STEM workers Whether it be through direct support, provision of expertise andcontent, mobilizatf talented STem role models and mentostudents toilities, these agencies inspire and informfuture scientists, engineers, innovators, and explorersThe Strategic Plan comp lements the important steps already taken The Plan be gins by providingan overview of the importance of STEM education to American scientific disco very andinnovation, the need to better prepare students for today's jobs and those of the future, and theimportance of a STEM-literate society and also describes the current state of Federal StEMeducation efforts The document then presents five priority STEM education investment al

About the editorMichael Erbschloe has worked for over 30 years performing analys is of theeconomics of information techno logy, public policy relating to technology, andutilizing techno logy in reengineering organization processes He has authoredseveral books on social and management issues of information technology thatere published by Mc Graw Hill and other major publishers

He has also taught atseveral univers ities and developed technology-related curriculum His career hasfocused on several interrelated areasTechnology strategy, analysis, and fo

recastingTeaching andcurrIcelopmentWriting books and articlesPublishing and editingPublic policy analys is and program evaluatiBooks by michael ErbschloeSocial Media Warfare: Equal Weapons for All(Auerbach Publications)Walling Out the Insiders: Controlling Access to Improve Organizational Security(Auerbach PublicPhysical Security for IT(Elsevier Science)Trojans, Worms, and Spyware(Butterworth-Heinemann)Implementing Homeland Security in Enterprise IT(Digital Press)Guide to Disaster Recovery(Course TechnologySocially responsible IT Management Digital Press)Information Warfare: How to Survive Cyber Attacks(Mc Graw Hill)s Guide to Privacy Management(Mc Graw HillNet Privacy: A Guide to Developing Implementing an e-bus iness Privacy Pl(Mc Graw Hill)

introductioIn 1982 comments given before a House subcommittee by the General Accountability Office(GAO)presented the view that automation can be an important facimprovement, although rapid, wide-scale adoption of automation may exacerbate such problemsas labor displacement, skill shortages, geographic dis locations, and labor-managementbargaining The us lag in imp lementing automation in comparison with other industrial nationsis in part reflected in the Nations declining productivity The barriers to more rapidimp lement ation of automated technologies include: (1)technical barriers which are encounteredin getting automated equipment to work; (2)financial barriers which arise from the necessityinvest in new capital equipment such as automated devices; and (3)social barriers which arebased ortance to change Publis hed predictions have cited the potential loss omillions of jobs in the manufacturing sector because of the use of robotics

At the same timeew and existing occupations are e xpected to inc rease because of the ad ve nt and diffus ion oautomation Federal efforts to encourage automation include: (1) financial incentives for privatesector action; (2)research responsibilities; (3)technolo gy transfer mechanis ms; (4)support ofengineering education; and (5)the de ve lopment of standards to facilitate inte gration of diversecomponents of automation systems(liNk:http://wwwgaogov/products/118784)elcome to the 21 CenturyOne exciting element of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership is the National roboticsInitiative Robots are working for us every day, in countless ways At home, at work, and on theattlefield, robots are increasingly lifting the burdens of tasks that are dull, dirty, or dangerous

But they could do even more, and that' s what the national robotics initiative is all about FourScience Foundation, the National Inst itutes of Health, nasa, and theUnited States Department of Agriculture)issued a joint solicitation that will provide up to $70million in rese arch funding for next-generation roboticsThe focthis initiativedeveloping robots that work with or beside people to exteaugment human capabilities, taking ad vanta ge of the different strengths of humans and robotsIn addition to investing in the core technology needed for next-generation robotics, the initiativeupport applicahbots thatncrease the productivity of workers in the manufacturing sectorAssist astronauts in dangerous and expensive missioHelp scientists acce lerate the discovery of new, life-saving drugs; andmprove food safety by rap idly sensing microbial contamination

The initiative will also designed to acce lerthe field by requiring researchers toshare the software and robotics operating systems they develop or contribute to, and funding thepurchase of robotics platforms The Obama Administration decided to make robotics a priorRobotics can address a broad range of national needs such as ad vanced manufacturinglogistics, services, transportation, homeland security, defense, medicine, healthcarespace expand agriculturehno logy is reaching a tipping powthbecause of impro vements in core techno lo gies such as microprocessors, sensors, and

portance, technology, engimathematics(STEM) educ ation because it encourages hands-on learninginte gration of science, engineering, and creative thinking: aand program managers in key sciences have de veloped a shared vision and an ambitioechnical agenda for de veloping next-generation robotic systems that can safely workwith humans and augment human capabilities(liNk:httpsbobamawhitchousearchivesgov/blog/2011a06/24/developing-next-genEration-roboThe goal of the National robotics Initiative(NRi) is to support fundamental research that willof robots in the united states thatcooperatively with people The original Nri pro gram focused on innovative robotics researchthat emphasized the realization of collaborative robots(co-robots )work ing in symbioticre lations hips with human partnersThe 2

0 program significantly extends this theme to focus on issues of scalability: how teams ofmultiple robots and multiple humans can interact and collaborate effectively; how robots can bedesigned to facilitate achievement of a variety of tasks in a variety of environments, witlminimal modification to the hardware and software: how robots can learn to perforneffectively and effic iently, using large pools of information from the cloud, other robots, andnd how the design of the robots hardware and software can facilitate large-scaleliable(liNk:https://wwwnsfgov/funding/pgm_summjsppims_id-50364l&org=cise

The Need for Industrial CompetitivenessIn 1982 comments given before a House subcommittee by the giAccountability office(GAO)presented the view that automation can be an important factor in productivityimprovement, a lthough rapid, widen may exacerbate such prob leas labor displacement, skill shortages, geo graphic dislocations, and labor-managementbng while theimplementing automation technology, the Federal Government will probably continue to playome role by de veloping policies and programs to encourage continued growth in automationemp loyment pThe US lag in imp lementing automation in comparison with other industrial nations is in partreflected in the Nations declining productivity

The barriers to more rapid implementation ofautomated technologies include: (1) technical barriers which are encountered in gettingautomated equipment to work; (2) financial barriers which arise from the necessity to investnew capital equipment such as automated de vices; and (3) social barriers whhuman resistance to change Despite these barriers, current national economic prob lemsstimulate both development and use of automation technolo gy published predictions had citedthe potential loss of millions of jobs in the manufacturing sector because of the use of roboticsAt the same time, new and existing occupations are expected to increase because of the adventand diffusion of automation Federal efforts to encourage automation include (1) financialhibilities; (3) technolomechanis ms; (4)support of engineering education; and(5)the development of standards toilitate inte gration of diverse components of automation systems, No current Federal programs

ficallyinc luding training in the necessary technical skills gAo be lie ves that there is a need for anlan to guide federal po licies and programs related(liNk:httpwwwproducts/118784In 1992 the gaorted to Congress that: (1)rformance ind ica torevidence of a decline in the Us leadership position in de veloping and marketing technolointensive products, particularly relative to Japan; (2)evidence on trends in the US trade balancehigh-techno logy products is mixed, with measures of high-technology tradeve to whichproducts are included; ( 3)indicators yield evidence that the technology gap betweenJapan and the United States has narrowed in recent decades; (4)measures of research outputshow Japanese gains:; (5)the United States is the world leader in the production andof telecommunications equipment;(6) the share of Us

-owned firms in the domestic and worldconsumer electronics markets has declined dramatically over the last 40 years; (7)Japan is theworld's largest market and producer of semiconductors; and( 8)the decline in US position insome indus tries has been strongest in the less technolo gically sophisticated industry segments(liNk:htp://wwwgaogov/products/nsad-92-236)In 2013 the gao reported that o ver the last decade, the United States lost about one-third of itsmanufacturing jobs raising concerns aboutmanufacturing competitiveness There may binsights to glean from go vernment policies of similarly-situa ted countries, which are facing someofeased competition in manufacturing from deve loping countriesThe four countries GAo analyzed --Canada, Germany, Japan, and South Korea--offer a variedrograms to support their manufacturing sectors For example, Canada is shiftingx credit to ward directort tomanufacturers to encourage innovation, particularly small-and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs ) Germany has established applied institutes and clusters of researchers andmanufacturers to conduct R&d in priority areas, as we ll as a national dual training system that

tudy with workp lace traiocational skillsprograms--with a major focus on alternative energy projects--as part of a comprehensivemanufacturing strategy South Korea has subs tantially expanded investments in R&D, inc ludingthe de velopment of a net work of technoparks--regional innovation centers that provide r&dfacilities, business incubation, and education and production assistance to industentries in GAO's study offevernment programs to support the manufacturing sector in the areas of inno vation, trade, andWhile the United States and the other four countries all provide support for innovationand r&D thecommercialization to helpmanufacturers brid ge the gap between inno vative ideas and sales These inc ludeprograms that support infrastructure as well as hands-on technical and productthat foster collaboration betweeresearchers In contrast, the United States relies heavily on competitive funding for R&Dwithin trade policy, the United States and the four countries in GAO,'s study providenilar services but thereral differences in how they are delivered For example,U

S government plays a less prominent role than the Japanese go vernment in developingtechno lo gical standards on indus trial productsa key difference related to training pro grams pertains to the sustained rolego vernment in coordinating stakeholderinto a national system of vocational skillsining and credentialing, which helps provide a supply of skilled workers formanufacturers This was particularly evident in germany In contrast, the United Statergely devolves vocational training to states and localities and dt have a nationasystem to issue industry-recognized credentials Howmanufacturingindustry, with participation from the federal go vernment, has recently launched an effort

establish nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials for theectorhttp://wwwgaogovplThe US manufacturing sector comprises businesses that are engaged in the mechanicalphysical, or chemical transformation of materials, subs tances, or components into new productincluding sectors such as machinery, textiles, apparel, food production, and chemicals HoweverS policy makers have become focused on competing in high-end, or"advancedmanufacturing "While no consensus de finition of ad vanced manufacturing exists, it re fersgenerally to the production of scientifically-and technologically-intensive products, in which theeconomic value aefrom inputs of know led ge and design more than it reflects traditionalputs such as labor and materials robotics, nano-manufacturing, and electric vehicles areles of adStatistics present a mixed picture about the health of US

manufacturing, both re lative to the restafactumdata from Bmanufacturing employment has fallen from 176 million workers in 1998 to 11 5 million in early0 a dec line of over one -thirdod in which total US employment grew somewhatHowe ver, the decline in US manufacturing employment is not a new phenomenon, and alonger-term view shows a steady dec line of manufacturings share ofall American jobsSince bottoming out in 2010, manufacturing employment rebounded slowly up to abomillion workers at the end of 2012 Also, other advanced economies, such as Canada, Germany,apan, and the United Kingdom, suffered large manufacturing job losses from 1998 to 201uggesting that global economic forces have affected manufacturing employment in addition toany factors ty be unique to the United StatesNot all experts agree on what role, if any, the government should play in supportingmanufacturing Economic theory generally sugges ts that government intervention into privatesector activity is justified by"market failure"situations in which the private market under-orenhancing productivity in manufacturing suggest that government policy should target the sect