Robots can be defined as machines that can carry out a complex set of actions automatically. The field of robotics involves engineering, electronics, computer science, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and mechatronics to conceptualize, design, manufacture and operate robots. Computer systems that can control the robots, manage sensory feedback and process information are also a part of robotics.
There is immense potential in the field of robotics, as robots can be used in a variety of industries for numerous purposes to serve different functions. Many robots are used in environments that would be dangerous for humans, such as exploring shipwrecks or defusing bombs, or in situations where robotic applications can speed up activities, for example in manufacturing industries.
The global industrial robotics market is expected to reach a value of $68 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 14 percent. Recent years have witnessed an increase in demand for industrial robots due to companies striving to boost their manufacturing productivity, quality, and cost savings by incorporating the use of automation. Improvements in robotics technology, such as artificial intelligence, learning capabilities, flexibility and object recognition are making robots more capable of serving a variety of purposes.
How Robotics Make Life Easier
The vast personalization possibilities in robotics make it useful across multiple domains to make life easier.
Since the 1960s, robots have been used in manufacturing, performing welding, packaging, painting, assembly, palletizing, testing and more, with high endurance, precision and speed. Robots used in the manufacturing process are known as industrial robots, which are automated and programmable. Industrial robots can significantly reduce labor costs, boost productivity and increase quality.
Industrial robots are a major part of the automotive industry, accounting for almost half of the total labor. As automotive manufacturers develop energy efficient systems and use new materials to beat the high competition, the industrial robotics market is further expected to grow, driven by demands from the automotive sector.
In contrast to other types of robots that are designed to work independently, collaborative robots are specifically made to work alongside humans in a safe and productive manner. The collaborative robots are adaptive and cost-effective with extra sensors, helping human workers with various tasks without the need for safety precautions. The demand for collaborative robots is expected to further increase in the coming years, as the robots are more adaptable and there is a quick return on investment, even as soon as five months.
The use of robots in military applications is revolutionary, albeit a little controversial. By using robotics in military functions such as reconnaissance, transportation, search & rescue, and attack, the risk to human lives can be avoided entirely. Robotics can be used in army, navy and air force applications, armed and unarmed. However, the use of robotics in warfare is under controversy, as they pose a risk of causing devastation to human lives close to attack targets.
There are several types of robots that are used in the medical sciences since robots can minimize the risk of human error and perform consistently. The medical robots can be further differentiated based on the tasks performed, for example, surgical robots to conduct precision based surgeries, rehabilitation robots to help recovering or elderly patients, pharmacy robots to dispense medicine, and companion robots to keep patients company and offer support. Robots are also helpful in the treatment of highly infectious diseases. Further applications of robotics in the medical field are in development.
Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT):
After the internet of things (IoT), technological developments in robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have brought about IoRT which uses data from multiple input sources and applies AI to identify the course of action. IoRT is poised to help in easier and more efficient methods for manipulation of multiple robots, boosting the functionalities of robots.
Another essential domain which is labor intensive is agriculture. By utilizing robotics in the field of agriculture, there is more productivity with a smaller labor force. Robots in agriculture are used mostly in harvesting, however, emerging applications include the use of robots in planting seeds, cloud seeding, weed control, soil analysis, and environmental monitoring.
Even with the massive benefits of robotics, there are still constraints to the market, such as high costs and long periods for recovering ROI. Another significant drawback is the availability of trained and qualified professionals to set up and manage robotics. The global slowdown in manufacturing activities also impacts the growth of industrial robotics.
The field of robotics offers unlimited opportunities for innovation and development. Robots can aid humans in all spheres of work, by increasing production speed, precision, and efficiency. They can also be used in circumstances which would otherwise be dangerous for humans. By incorporating robotics with other advanced technology fields such as Data Learning and Artificial Intelligence, the robots can be made smarter and more helpful.