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Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has set aside
over 2 billion yen (US$17.4 million) in its 2007 budget to support the
development of intelligent robots that rely on their own decision-making
skills in the workplace. The objective of METI’s robot budget is to support
the development of key artificial intelligence technology for robots over
the next 5 years, with the goal of introducing intelligent robots to the
market by 2015.
Examples of next-generation intelligent robots envisioned by METI include
cleaning robots and security robots that only need to be shown a facility’s blueprints before they get to work. Based on this information, these robots
would make their own decisions about what routes to take as they make
their rounds. The cleaning robot would seek out areas that are particularly
dirty and focus on cleaning those areas, while the security robot would
decide for itself whether or not to report suspicious individuals it encounters
during its patrol.