SIT degree course to meet expected demand in automation engineering

A new degree programme will be offered by the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to fulfil the anticipated demand in automation engineering in the future by training students to develop, deploy and maintain field robots.

The Bachelor of Engineering in Robotics Systems is a four-year programme offered by SIT, and designed in consultation with key partners such as the National Robotics Programme (NRP) and Economic Development Board (EDB), SIT said yesterday.

"Robots are no longer just operating on the factory shop floor, but are also required to work for, and alongside, humans in various field applications," said Professor Chua Kee Chaing, deputy president (academic) and provost of SIT.

Figures by the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed more than 4,400 industrial robots were installed in 2017, representing an increase of 72 per cent from 2016.

Already widely used in manufacturing, there will likely be an even greater adoption of industrial robots in the coming years, said Professor Quek Tong Boon, chief executive of NRP.

"With advances in technology that enable robots to interact more naturally, intelligently and safely with humans in people-centric environments, there will be more robots expected in our service sectors and public spaces," added Prof Quek.

Ms Fong Pin Fen, vice-president and head of the advanced manufacturing strategy group at EDB, said robotics and automation are key focus areas for Singapore, which will create new growth opportunities and enable the transformation of industries here.

"Singapore has a growing base of robotics companies, system integrators and research institutes to design, develop and enable adoption of robotics solutions in the manufacturing and service sectors," she added.

The degree programme will commence in September this year with an initial intake of 40 students.

Students will learn to deploy integrative elements, such as software engineering and artificial intelligence, to connect multiple mechatronics elements together to form a complete robotics system.

They will also participate in the Integrated Work Study Programme, a 12-month work attachment to learn from experts in the industry.

Applications for admission into SIT in academic year 2021 are currently open till March 19.​

  • Figures by the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed more than 4,400 industrial robots were installed in 2017, representing an increase of 72 per cent from 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2021, with the headline 'SIT degree course to meet expected demand in automation engineering'. Subscribe