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Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at Going Live Event of LionsBot International

Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at Going Live Event of LionsBot International

Mr Dylan Ng, CEO & Co-Founder, LionsBot International 
Ms Michelle Seow, Co-Founder, LionsBot International
Dr Mohan Rajesh Elara, Co-Founder, LionsBot International
Mr Tan Meng Dui, CEO NEA
Good afternoon.

Introduction 

1. I am delighted to join you today at LionsBot International’s Going Live event. I visited LionsBot’s booth at the Singapore Industrial Robo Expo (SIRE) in November 2018, and am very encouraged to see how it is contributing not only to the growth of our robotics sector, but also to the transformation of our Environmental Services Industry through the adoption of robotics and automation. 

Robotics and automation is an important enabler for industry transformation

2. Robotics and automation is an important enabler for industry transformation. Robotics has huge potential to raise productivity, for example by augmenting the output capacity of workers, and reducing the error rate of manual and repetitive tasks. This will help Singapore to address the changes in our labour demographics such as an ageing workforce. 

3. Traditionally, the manufacturing sector has been the primary adopter of robotics and automation solutions. For example, the number of new industrial robots installed in Singapore in 2017 was over 4,400, representing an increase of 72% from 2016. Robotics has a wide range of applications in other areas beyond manufacturing. In Singapore, robotics solutions are being deployed in sectors such as logistics, land transport and cleaning. For example, if you have been to Sentosa, you might have ridden on one of the trial driverless shuttles. This trial is part of a broader initiative to leverage robotics solutions to enhance commuter connectivity and mobility. 

Through initiatives such as the National Robotics Programme, the Government will continue supporting the development and deployment of robotics solutions.

4. The Government will continue to support the development and deployment of robotics solutions across different industries. In 2016, we launched the National Robotics Programme (NRP) to coordinate the development, test-bedding and deployment of robotics solutions. We are making good progress. Today, Singapore has a growing base of robotics companies, research institutes, commercial system integrators and training providers to design, develop and enable the adoption of robotics solutions for industries. Since the launch of the NRP, Singapore’s robotics ecosystem has secured new investments that will contribute more than S$300 million in value-add and create 1,000 new jobs over the next 5 years. 

5. The cleaning industry is one of the early adopters of robotics. A key thrust under the Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) is to grow capabilities and spur innovation through the development and deployment of robotics technology to augment cleaning operations. 

6. LionsBot is one of the key players in Singapore for cleaning robots, which help enhance productivity in this traditionally labour-intensive industry. Leveraging on technology and expertise developed through the NRP at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), LionsBot designs, develops and manufactures professional cleaning robots. The first two of its cleaning robots were launched in April this year – one deployed for scrubbing floors at the National Gallery Singapore, and another deployed for collecting garbage at Jewel Changi Airport. Besides local demand, LionsBot has also received international orders for their cleaning robots. 

7. I am pleased to note that today, LionsBot will be unveiling its new Vehicle series of indoor and outdoor cleaning robots with larger cleaning capacities and enhanced cleaning mechanism.

Robotics can enhance the value-add of jobs, and workers can benefit by reskilling and staying relevant.

8. As businesses across the cleaning industry and beyond adopt new technologies and transform, equipping the workers with the right skillsets is critical. Instead of displacing cleaning staff from their jobs, cleaning robots can help to ease the workload of the cleaning staff, and free up their time for higher value-added duties such as the supervision, operation and maintenance of the robots. 

9. Taking on such duties will require training and reskilling. The Government will continue to support our workforce in their skills upgrading journey. The Skills Framework for Environmental Services, part of the Environmental Services ITM, provides information on the career pathways, occupations and job roles, skills and competencies as well as training programmes in areas such as cleaning operations. I urge our workers to make use of such initiatives to retrain, adapt, stay relevant and realise the benefits that technology can bring to our jobs. I am highly encouraged that LionsBot is participating in the SkillsFuture Earn & Learn Programme to train fresh graduates in robotics development and operation for the cleaning industry

Conclusion

10. In closing, let me congratulate LionsBot on your Going Live event and the successful commercialisation of your cleaning robots. I am confident that when all stakeholders – companies, unions, workers and the Government, continue to work together, we will be able to harness the benefits that technologies such as robotics can bring to accelerate the pace of industry transformation and more importantly, create good jobs for our workers. 

11. Thank you. 

 
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