Thailand’s uptake in robotics a positive effect of pandemic

Thailand is making the most of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic by increasing the use of robotics and artificial intelligence as a way to maintain social distancing in retail businesses, offices, and factories, and Thai researchers are exploring more ways to use robot technology.

“We can turn the Covid-19 crisis into opportunity as the pandemic will fast forward the digital economy and Industry 4.0 in Thailand to take shape by next year, instead of five to six years in the earlier projection,” said Djitt Laowattana, executive advisor for the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office.

The EEC is a three-province advanced development zone just east of Bangkok that is proving popular with investors because of its extensive infrastructure, human resources, clusters of high-tech industries, and investment privileges.

Foreign companies are increasingly interested in investing in Thailand, particularly the EEC, partly because the country is striving to leverage robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) in business operations, Djitt said.

Thailand’s use of robotics in manufacturing has been steadily rising, but the crisis has also sparked service industries and the medical sectors to adopt the new technologies.

While robots are being used in logistics, Thai innovators and universities have been playing a role in developing them for broader tasks. Chulalongkorn University recently launched a “CU-RoboCovid” project with several models of robots that can assist medical personnel in treating patients in hospitals.

Pinto robots deliver meals to patients. Ninja robots serve as a communication tool between physicians and patients and have medical devices that allow doctors to examine patients’ conditions remotely. Krajok (mirror) robots, integrated with a tablet, let patients seek assistance from healthcare workers.

In the private sector, True Corporation is integrating the Internet of Things, analytics, AI, blockchain, cybersecurity, and 5G infrastructure for robot use in retail, hospitality, property, exhibition, airport, office building, and hospitals.

True’s robots include greeting and service robots that can serve as receptionists with deep-learning and multi-tasking capability, cleaning robots, delivery robots, patrol robots, and environmental monitoring robots.

The company also offers virtual robots for remote learning and AI rescue helmets for rescue missions.

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