February 22, 2024

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Singapore: A*STAR Revolutionises Robotics Education

In a pioneering move to strengthen the capabilities of future robotic professionals, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has teamed up with seven esteemed local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to align and elevate learning outcomes in robotics courses.

Image credit: a-star.edu.sg

This strategic collaboration aims to equip students with consistent knowledge and skills essential for their integration into the workforce and engagement in robotics work. The partnership, formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific Annual Summit, underscores a commitment to harmonising educational approaches in response to the dynamic landscape of Singapore’s growing robotics ecosystem.

This collaborative effort, led by ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific, addresses the imperative of cultivating a workforce adept in the Robot Operating System (ROS), an open-source framework pivotal in the development and control of robots.

As ROS gains prominence in industrial robotics applications, facilitating seamless communication among robots with diverse manufacturers and user interfaces, the collaboration seeks to bolster the future workforce’s relevance and competitiveness. Likewise, it envisions empowering professionals to undertake higher-value tasks, aligning with the evolving demands of the robotics industry.

At the helm of this educational convergence is the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific (ROS-I AP), managed by A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). The consortium spearheads collaborative endeavours with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), National University of Singapore (NUS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Polytechnic (SP), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

The ROS-I AP has been instrumental in adapting ROS capabilities to suit the hardware requirements of industrial applications. Traditionally, robots were programmed using proprietary solutions, constraining innovation.

Leveraging ROS’s open-source architecture, ROS-I AP catalyses the industry’s adoption of ROS by fostering collaboration, pooling resources, and sharing knowledge to drive ROS applications in manufacturing automation. The consortium also plays a pivotal role in training and outreach to cultivate a talent pool aligned with the increasing deployment of robots.

The MoU signifies a pivotal phase in a broader Train-and-Place programme championed by ROS-I AP, responding to the escalating demand for robotics-related skills in the Singaporean industry landscape. This initiative seeks to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of contributing to ROS-related projects within companies.

The collaborative efforts between ROS-I AP and IHLs aim to establish a standardised curriculum for ROS-based courses, ensuring a consistent quality of education delivery. The collaboration will also include monitoring the efficacy of course content through piloting in IHLs and assessing students, with a commitment to updating content to align with industry developments.

According to A*STAR, this holistic approach ensures that graduates across IHLs possess a baseline competency, instilling confidence in employers regarding the proficiency of these future robotic professionals.

Likewise, this collaboration signifies a concerted effort to shape the future of robotics education, ensuring that students receive a cohesive and advanced learning experience. As the robotics landscape continues to evolve, this strategic partnership not only meets current industry needs but also prepares the workforce for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the dynamic field of robotics.


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