Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

pba group singapore 2

Singapore establishes new robotics and automation startup incubator

The tiny Asian island city-state of Singapore has opened a new incubator office and workshop to support startup companies in the robotics and automation sector. 

The “Robotics Centre” is the result of a partnership between Action Community for Entrepreneurship, a private sector organisation, and Advanced New Technology Incubator, the venture capital arm of PBA Group.

PBA is an engineering company and technology integrator which specialises in providing motion control, robotics and automation products. 

While Singapore is known globally as a financial services centre, its industrial companies have recently turned their attention to the robotics and automation sector and there have been some notable developments in recent months.

For example, last month, PBA Group partnered with South Korea’s Hanwha Robotics to establish a collaborative robot production facility in Singapore.

And a few months ago, Singapore’s ST Engineering acquired US maker of mobile robots Aethon with a view to expanding into new markets.

And HP opened its first smart manufacturing centre in Singapore towards the end of last year.

This latest development, the establishment of an incubator for robotics and automation startups, is likely to accelerate innovation in the sector.

And if it can emulate Singapore’s financial sector, the 5 million population on the very small island off the coast of Malaysia will likely become a go-to place for the Asian robotics and automation industry.

pba group singapore

As reported on, the new Robotics Centre was formally opened at a ceremony attended by Dr Koh Poh Koon, senior minister of state for trade and industry and national development, who is also ACE’s patron. 

As part of the collaboration, ACE will provide business-related support and mentorship for the startups, while PBA will provide industry-specific expertise, resources and contacts in the sector.

The centre will provide improved access to support services, innovative technologies and networks from Singapore’s startup community for startups in the robotics and automation space.

The community at LaunchPad, where the centre is located, houses about 800 startups and more than 50 incubators from a diverse range of industries.

The majority of the companies based here are in the IT and media sector. Other industries include engineering, biomedical, financial technology and urban solutions.

Individuals or companies looking to explore opportunities to collaborate with or tap into the support provided by the centre can register their interest with ACE.

In addition to the resources and support provided to startups, the centre aims to generate greater awareness among companies and seed interest about robotics among individuals.

It includes a display area that will showcase different robotics and automation solutions throughout the year.

As part of the tour during the event, Dr Koh was introduced to PBA’s “Golden Retriever” automated robot systems (main picture).

PBA says the Golden Retriever is a patent-pending technology designed for transporting items within production, warehouse, fulfilllment and distribution centres at a fraction of the cost of existing competitors.

Derrick Yap, chief executive officer of PBA Group, said: “The LaunchPad Robotics Centre will be an integral part of our efforts to drive the development of the robotics and automation ecosystem in Singapore.

“The initial phase of being a robotics startup tends to be the most difficult, and we are excited to work with ACE in providing the support required to help these companies succeed.

“The display of innovative technologies and solutions will also help to encourage greater industry awareness and developments integral to driving greater overall adoption.”

Edmas Neo, executive director of ACE, said: “As the national private sector-led organisation supporting the growth of Singapore’s startup community, ACE is delighted to be working closely with PBA Group, a company with a vast amount of experience in the robotics sector, to help spur the growth and development of more automation focused startups in the ecosystem.

“This comes at an opportune time as the expected acceleration in the growth of the global robotics landscape will present many opportunities for many of our startups here to thrive and flourish.”