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Amrita’s ABB Robotics Lab Impresses

The Amrita ABB Robotics Lab, the first of its kind by an Indian university, was inaugurated at Amrita University (Amritapuri Campus) on February 25th by Shri. P. K. Kunhalikutty, Minister of Industries and IT, Government of Kerala. The state of the art lab is expected to herald a new era for robotics research and academics in India. Amrita University’s AMMACHI Labs has collaborated with ABB Robotics for setting up the Robotics Research Lab with two ROS-Industrial robots.

Mr. Tore Lindstrom, Head of Robotics Business at ABB and Dr. Kurien Issac, Dean of Intellectual Property Rights & Continuing Education at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology also attended the function welcomed by Dr. Balakrishnan Shankar, the Associate Dean for the School of Engineering at Amritapuri campus.

ROS-Industrial is an open-source software framework for next-generation manufacturing automation. With this acquisition, Amrita has joined a handful of top global universities which has set up such world class facilities. While ABB is one of the oldest and most reputed robotics companies globally, Amrita is known for its excellence in research for societal impact. Dr. Kurien Issac commented that “It’s a privilege for me to be here because the emphasis Amrita University has on the humanitarian initiatives is impressive. I am very impressed by the work AMMACHI Labs is doing. Bringing technology to common people is what India needs more of.”

Today, over 90% of all robotics applications are industrial. With the projections that India is expected to become the second largest manufacturing country in the next five years, the Indian industry is leveraging cutting-edge automation technologies to be globally competitive. There is an urgent need to train students with the multifaceted skills involved in robotics engineering with a curriculum that focuses on manufacturing and industrial applications to serve the industry need.

Industrial robotics is a rapidly emerging technology,” says AMMACHI Labs Director Professor Rao R. Bhavani. “To be putting open source robotics into the hands of our students, the future innovators of tomorrow, is exciting!”

Amrita University offers strong academic programs that inspire students with a quest for knowledge and a focus on innovation. The interdisciplinary Robotics and Automation M.Tech. program was launched in 2014 in collaboration with the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Impressed by Amrita’s programs, Mr. Tore Lindstrom, Head of Robotics Business at ABB commented: “The spirit and love here is something unique that I have not seen in other universities. The fact that I’ve seen so many inspiring women in top positions and many women students in Engineering is impressive. The big difference is that you bring initiatives down to the root to make it happen. It’s not just all theories.”

The two ABB industrial robots, IRB 1600 and IRB 1520 will provide engineering students an opportunity enter a fields in industrial robotics such as manufacturing and automation to the automotive, aerospace, medical and leisure and entertainment industries.

Asst. Professor Gayathri M., Program Coordinator for M. Tech Program, believes that “ROS is a flexible robotic research framework for development of innovative robotics applications in a collaborative manner. By acquiring ROS-I enabled ABB industrial arms, Amrita University is proud to be part of the ROS ecosystem making it one of a handful of institutions across the world conducting cutting edge research in collaboration with industry giants like ABB.”

Through a ROS-Industrial lab, Amrita University plans to leverage its research capabilities and identify new and impactful uses of industrial robots that will benefit society.

“Amrita is the only institution in India that excels in research, student activities and outreach,” said Shri Kunhalikutty, “I congratulate you all and assure all government cooperation in your endeavors. Amrita is a role model for others to follow.”