IT (Information Technology), rapidly progressed in the past 20 years, has created an information world called cyber world. Although the research on uniting this cyber world with the real world is intensively carried out, the advancement of IT for real world application will have a limit if the IT research is carried out only within the IT world. On the other hand, robotics (RT*) has made a remarkable advancement and reached a stage where human thinking, movement, and action can be assisted, strengthened, and replaced. It is an important direction for the future to invest in the research activity for developing new technology that would bring in remarkable spreading effect, break down the IT limitations, and unite the real world with the cyber world. We call the new technology, which combines the advantages of IT and RT, IRT (Information and Robotics Technology).
The social visions such as "Healthy and comfortable life", "Safe and peaceful society", and "Sustainable economic development" can be realized by using the achievements obtained through the integration of the real world and the cyber world centering on the human and society. This strategic initiative refers these "Technological system for realizing the social vision" as "IRT platform" and proposes the R&D (research and development) of the IRT platform for realizing the vision.
Since the research on IRT is highly integrated, it is necessary to set up a system for funding cooperatively between multiple ministries in the national level and for making a research system initiated by a team composed of industry, government, and university.
From the international viewpoint, Japan has advantages in the IT and RT fields, and hence, it is currently important to execute a research program that realizes the IRT – containing the IT and RT merits – in the national level while taking care of the significance and the research system described above.
* The definition of "RT" here is broader than the conventional robotics technology. It is "the technology realizing the function for the real world."