They’re here. They’re gear. Get used to it.
After first attempting to cajole me into buying him a robot (unsuccessfully I might add), Richard Lightbound CEO, EU of ROBO Global was kind enough to spare me a few moments of his time to discuss the predicted robotics trends of 2017.
Richard is a frequent speaker at robotic and automation events, such as recently passed Global Robot Expo. With his extensive experience in the industry and exposure to everything it encompasses, he has valuable expert insights to offer.
Production and Automation Robotics Trends of 2017
One of the major robotics trends of 2017 will be an entire global shift in production. We’ve already begun to experience and will continue to see, not a mere transformation but a complete “reboot of productivity globally”.
Many factors, including both the business and consumer driven needs for highly customized, precision products delivered today (not in 2-4 weeks) are driving factory automation closer to home in developed countries, while the “mass reallocation of cheap labor from the agricultural sector to manufacturing is coming to an end.” Source: UBS
Logistics Automation Robotics Trends of 2017
With the consumer market in mind, logistics is also experiencing a surge of innovation. Anyone paying attention to Amazon warehouses and their beta-tests of various delivery strategies will attest to this. Online purchases from eCommerce stores have become the norm and will only continue to grow. The impact of this is the need to meet the demand, creating a “surge of activities” in logistics automation.
The sheer volume of orders is staggering and distribution warehouses will need to adapt quickly if they plan to survive the explosive growth. This will mean advancements in accurate automation of all aspects of the ordering process including sensing, tracking, picking, packing and delivery.
Healthcare Robotics Trends of 2017
Health care is another industry expected to see extensive growth in robotics and automation. With the introduction of SA, AI, and Collaborative Robots (discussed more below), the healthcare industry is well positioned to take full advantage of these robotics trends of 2017. Already there are FDA approved surgical robots and the trend of implementing more of these robot assisted surgical platforms is expected to increase greatly this year.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) can improve health and well-being by promoting greater efficiency in existing healthcare systems, enabling self-monitoring and allowing for early diagnosis of medical conditions. Machine learning can further extend the availability of quality medical care to remote regions through automated diagnosis.” Source: UBS
AG, VR and AI Robotics Trends of 2017
Perhaps one of the most exciting robotics trends of 2017 is the actualization of the birth of Augmented Reality (AG), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Advancements in these areas have finally made the reality of a future with these technologies undeniable. We are just now on the cusp of learning how these technologies will infiltrate our lives with the use of virtual reality simulators and open source AI integrations such as Amazon Echo and Google Home , however they are not yet fully formed systems.
While engineers and programmers are tirelessly working to bring these Science-Fiction fantasies to life, it is expected to be a long while before we are able to experience true AI, VR, AG or 100% autonomous helping robots. In other words, don’t expect to be able to order a “Rosie” personal home robot this year.
Rather than expecting to have autonomous working robots doing 100% our jobs, we will see the rise of “disruptive game-changing” collaborative robots (Co-bots). These co-bots are gaining popularity fast due to their affordability, adaptability and ease of use for both homes and businesses. Source: ROBO 2017 Outlook_EU
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at center of fourth industrial revolution
UBS Report: Artificial Intelligence, which we refer to as a set of tools and programs that makes software smarter in a way an outside observer thinks the output is generated by a human, is the next big thing in the automation space as it will have far-reaching implications on many industries.
Fig. 13: Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term for many technologies
Although it may seem that we caught in a whirlwind of advancing technology, the drastic, revolutionizing reconstruction of our entire eco system will not happen overnight. Different aspects of these robotics trends of 2017 will modify our lives and businesses at “different penetration rates”.
“Smart automation” (SA) is one of the main robotics trends of 2017 expected to be the breakthrough force that thrusts us into the dawn of our new era.
I would like to thank Richard again for his time and insights into the robotics trends of 2017. Perhaps one day I will buy him a robot… after all, we never do know exactly what the future holds!
- Robotics Trends of 2017: ROBO 2017 Outlook_EU
- Robotics Trends of 2017: UBS Longer Term Investments: Automation and Robotics
- Feature Image Credit: ABB Group YuMi Robot
About ROBO Global
ROBO Global is an investment advisory team with an index of over 81 public companies in over 15 different markets, spanning the entire eco system of robotics and automation.
Visit ROBOGlobal.com for more information.
About the Author
Nicole Huntley is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Morai Motion. She has a passion for design, technology, clean energy, Muay Thai, Sci-Fi and helping our clients find the best motion control solutions for their applications.