Chinese investment in Israeli technology has steadily been growing in several sectors, and has now turned to advanced robotics.

At a December 14 ceremony in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Robotics Association (IROB) signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an Israeli branch of the upcoming Sino-Israeli Robotics Institute in the Chinese province of Guangzhou. The institute was inaugurated in September.

The MoU was signed by IROB Chairman Prof. Zvi Shiller, head of Ariel University’s Paslin Laboratory for Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles, with a group of investors. Israeli governmental and robotics leaders, and officials of the Guangzhou Industrial Zone attended the signing ceremony.

“This agreement is a breakthrough for the Israeli robotics industry, which has advanced scientific infrastructure in the field but lacks the necessary investment to develop innovative products for the world market,” says Shiller.

He tells ISRAEL21c that this unique initiative comes from the grassroots level of investors, companies and local governments seeking Israeli robotics knowhow for modernizing and automating Chinese industries — including manufacturing, security, cleaning and even hospitality, tourism and home healthcare.

The MoU states that investors will provide $20 million toward developing Israeli robotics projects to be chosen in the coming months.

“There are large companies involved, and I hope this will assure the institute’s success,” says Shiller.

He adds that the long-term goal is to expand the Israeli branch of the Sino-Israeli Robotics Institute into a full research-and-development center. According to the agreement, the Israeli robotics experts also will provide education and training to the Chinese.

Also present at the MoU signing were Yariv Becher, director of the China-India Department at the Foreign Trade Administration of the Ministry of Economy; Uri Pachter, director of international projects at the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute; Danny Catarivas, director of foreign trade at the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel; Peggy Mizrahi, China Unit manager at the Israel Export Institute; Prof. Moshe Shoham, head of the medical robotics lab at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Arie Perry, president AUVSI Israel (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International); and Rafi Aravot, founder of RoboGroup in Rosh HaAyin.