According to the manpower ministry, the number of foreign workers in the city-state declined by 235,700 between December 2019 and September 2021, owing to COVID-19 restrictions hastened “the rate of technological adoption and automation” by businesses.
A four-legged robot named “Spot” made by Boston Dynamics scans portions of mud and gravel at a Singapore construction site to check on work progress, with data transmitted back to construction company Gammon’s control center.
Michael O’Connell, Gammon’s general manager, noted that employing Spot required only one human employee rather than the two previously necessary to execute the task manually.
“Autonomous solutions are gaining pace in replacing the requirement for on-site staff,” said O’Connell, who believes industrial labor shortages exacerbated by the epidemic are here to stay.
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Meanwhile, the National Library of Singapore has introduced two shelf-reading robots that can scan labels on 100,000 books every day, or around 30% of the library’s total.
“Staff does not have to read the call numbers on the shelf one by one, which lowers the repetitive and labor-intensive features,” said Lee Yee Fuang, assistant director of the National Library Board.
According to a 2021 report by the International Federation of Robotics, Singapore has 605 robots installed per 10,000 workers in the manufacturing industry, the second-highest number globally after South Korea’s 932.
More than 30 metro stations will feature robots pouring coffee for commuters, demonstrating how robotics can be utilized for customer-facing duties.
The barista robot, designed by Crown Digital, is helping to solve the “largest pain-point” in the food and beverage industry – hiring people – while also providing well-paid jobs to assist automate the sector, according to Keith Tan, CEO of Crown Digital.
However, some users of the program expressed a desire for personal interaction.
“We always want some kind of human touch,” passenger Ashish Kumar said as he sipped a drink prepared by a robot.
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