Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and Delta Electronics, global provider of IoT-based Smart Green Solutions, have established the S$24 million Delta-NTU Corporate Lab for Advanced Robotics, continuing their close collaboration in R&D for advanced technologies.
The lab, supported under Singapore’s National Research Foundation’s Research Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 plan, will develop over three years next-generation technologies aimed at overcoming labour shortage challenges for the manufacturing and intralogistics — the logistical flows of goods and materials that take place on a company’s site — industries.
Collaborative robotic systems are set to become a staple as businesses transit into Industry 5.0, and as the world grapple with a manpower crunch arising from an ageing workforce and declining birth-rates.
Such systems include human-touch inspired robots that can adjust their grip to pick up a range of materials, from fragile glassware to volatile chemicals, and smart sensing, radar and 3D sensors systems, which allow autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to operate in a dynamic environment with human traffic like hospitals and warehouses.
Wood-based materials may be one the materials that next-generation AMRs will handle as well, according to a spokesperson from Delta Electronics.
Yancey Hai, chairman of Delta Electronics, commented: “We are honoured to further our long-term cooperation with NTU following the success in the field of cyber- physical systems, especially as our new joint Delta-NTU Corporate Lab for Advanced Robotics has earned the support of Singapore’s RIE 2025 initiative.
“We intend to leverage Delta’s smart manufacturing prowess and autonomous mobile robot know- how, as well as our Delta-NTU R&D talent to develop essential technologies for the next-generation of autonomous mobile robots.”
In 2016, the Delta – NTU Corporate Laboratory for Cyber-Physical Systems was launched with a focus on using cyber-physical systems to build technological capabilities for use in smart manufacturing and smart learning. In 2018, the lab was expanded to accommodate more research activities.
Over the five years, the team filed 17 patents, of which eight have been issued, and submitted over 200 papers to journals and conferences. It also supported more than 140 NTU research staff and graduate students, as well as scientists and engineers from the Delta Research Centre in Singapore.
Notable projects include a universal smart navigation system where logistics robots autonomously move goods around factory floors. Woodworking factories have reportedly applied automated vehicles and articulated robots in their production lines, for instance.
Tzi-cker Chiueh, general director of the Delta Research Centre, said: “We have secured various patents through our collaboration with NTU Singapore. These achievements demonstrate the high potential for commercialisation of the technologies we have developed together.
“Some of these patents relate to 3D mapping and localisation for automated guided vehicles, human tracking and re-identification, and robotic arm manipulation techniques.
“This intellectual property will serve as a solid foundation for this new lab, and thus, we look forward to working together to meet the complex needs of several industries.”