© Reuters. Robotic barista “Ella”, designed by Crown Digital, makes a espresso autonomously after receiving orders, in Singapore, April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Travis Teo
(This Could 30 story corrects paragraph 6 to clarify robots are launched at one public library, not throughout Singapore’s Nationwide Library Board community)
By Travis Teo
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – After struggling to seek out workers throughout the pandemic, companies in Singapore have more and more turned to deploying robots to assist perform a spread of duties, from surveying building websites to scanning library bookshelves.
The town-state depends on overseas staff, however their quantity fell by 235,700 between December 2019 and September 2021, in response to the manpower ministry, which notes how COVID-19 curbs have sped up “the tempo of expertise adoption and automation” by corporations.
At a Singapore building website, a four-legged robotic known as “Spot”, constructed by U.S. firm Boston Dynamics, scans sections of mud and gravel to verify on work progress, with information fed again to building firm Gammon’s management room.
Gammon’s common supervisor, Michael O’Connell, mentioned utilizing Spot required just one human worker as an alternative of the 2 beforehand wanted to do the job manually.
“Changing the necessity for manpower on-site with autonomous options is gaining actual traction,” mentioned O’Connell, who believes business labour shortages made worse by the pandemic are right here to remain.
In the meantime, Singapore’s Nationwide Library Board has launched two shelf-reading robots at one in every of its public libraries that may scan labels on 100,000 books, or about 30 % of its assortment, per day.
“Employees needn’t learn the decision numbers one after the other on the shelf, and this reduces the routine and labour-intensive points,” mentioned Lee Yee Fuang, assistant director on the Nationwide Library Board.
Singapore has 605 robots put in per 10,000 staff within the manufacturing business, the second-highest quantity globally, after South Korea’s 932, in response to a 2021 report by the Worldwide Federation of Robotics.
Robots are additionally getting used for customer-facing duties, with greater than 30 metro stations set to have robots making espresso for commuters.
Keith Tan, chief govt of Crown Digital, which created the barista robotic, mentioned it was serving to clear up the “greatest pain-point” in meals and beverage – discovering workers – whereas additionally creating well-paid positions to assist automate the sector.
Nevertheless, some individuals attempting the service nonetheless yearned for human interplay.
“We at all times need to have some form of human contact,” mentioned commuter Ashish Kumar, whereas sipping on a robot-brewed drink.