Robotics is astonishingly transforming today’s industrial columns. This technology brought a momentous shift when companies shift towards it to maximize their productivity and minimize the burden on its human workers and employees. Beholding the industrial trends, this sector, too, is going to witness promising trends that may revolutionize the way the world operates today. In the previous decade, this industry has created millions of additional jobs led by consumer electronics and the electric vehicle industry alone. It is predicted that by 2020, the robotics industry will be worth of value US$100 billion, nearly surpassing the tourism industry. While robotics have successfully transformed manufacturing industries in recent decades, the next years will see it move beyond the assembly line areas. There is increasingly widespread adoption of robots across food production, retail, healthcare, and distribution operations, and it may be even closer to day to day applications. Let’s have an overview of these next-gen trends.
1. Robots-As-A-Service (RaaS): With companies racing towards digital transformation and striving for innovation, the RaaS business models will gain massive traction. These robotics models enable companies to complete repetitive and complex in a shorter time through virtual agents. This allows enterprises to save operational expenses and reduce upfront investments in highly productive and demanding business activities. Besides, RaaS also offer rental and leasing services, thus augmenting the global robotics rental market and cutting costs in permanent deployment solutions.
2. Machine Learning in Robotics: For robotic systems, machine vision plays a pivotal role; without this, robots would be blind and unable to present themselves at work. Robots embedded with cameras can handle complicated tasks and make sure that the desired activity is performed as required, while machine vision algorithms take care of the image analysis. The vision guidance systems can assist robots to perceive objects and sense the environment and navigate accordingly without stumbling on obstacles. And this feature will be more common in every robotic application now. Thus, operations connected with packaging, transportation, assembling, quality control can be performed by robots more efficiently now.
3. Cloud Robotics: With every technology being integrated with others, robots are no exception. Thanks to cloud robotics, robots in converged infrastructure and shared services environment shall benefit from the powerful computational and storage abilities of the modern data centers. Even the RaaS models can integrate cloud-based management and analytics services with physical robots. Owing to cloud connectivity, it will be easier to monitor, manage, and maintain the robots remotely. E.g., the French robotic firm Gostai offers the GostaiNet, a cloud-based robotic infrastructure allowing robots to record videos and synthesize voice for face detection and speech recognition tasks.
4. Cobots: It is a portmanteau for collaborative robots. This subset of robotics illustrates the idea that autonomous machines will supplement rather than completely replace human labor. They shall be providing timely assistance whenever we shall need it. Various SMEs like the automotive sector, rubber and plastic industry, food and beverage sector are leveraging the benefits such as lower costs and convenience in programming and integration offered by cobots. Now we also have cobots with impressive payload capacity and mileage. E.g., Comau’s huge Aura with a payload capacity of 110kg payload and FANUC’s large CR-35iA with a 35kg payload capacity. Meanwhile, MiR500 cobots that travel as much as 30 miles per day. Some cobots can be customized as per the industrial needs too.
5. Delivery Robots: This has been one of the hottest trends this year. Hospitals are using these robots to transport blood and other test samples, while Starlink and DoorDash are already running door to door delivering food to people maintaining the social distancing due to COVID-19. Apart from that, some robots are used to work in large indoor spaces like Segway’s Loomo robot, which carries out the delivery of internal mail in workplace settings such as office blocks and shop floors. This trend also means that there will be a proliferation of drones in the future for similar delivery purposes.
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