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Robotics is a diverse industry with many variables. Its future is full of uncertainty: nobody can predict how it will develop and in which direction it will lead in a few years. Robotics is also a growing sector with more than 500 companies working on products that can be divided into four categories:
- conventional industrial robots,
- Stationary professional services (e.g. medical and agricultural applications),
- Mobile professional services (construction and underwater activities),
- Automated guided vehicle systems (AGVs) for transporting small and large loads in logistics or assembly lines.
According to data from the International Federation of Robotics, there are 3 million industrial robots in use worldwide – the number is up 10% from 2021. The global robotics market is valued at $55.8 billion and is projected to grow 10.5% to $91.8 billion by 2026. Annual growth rate.
Biggest challenges in the industry
The field of robotics faces numerous problems due to its hardware and software capabilities. Most of the challenges concern assistive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), perception, energy sources, etc. From manufacturing processes to human-robot collaboration, several factors are slowing down the pace of development of the robotics industry.
Let’s look at the main problems of robotics:
Various real-world environments can pose a challenge for robots to understand and take appropriate action. There is no match for human thinking; Therefore, robotic solutions are not completely reliable.
There have been significant advances in how robots perceive and navigate their environment – for example, in self-driving vehicles. Navigation solutions will continue to evolve, but future robots will need to be able to operate in environments that are unmapped and not fully understood.
Full autonomy is currently impractical and too far away. However, we can argue about energy autonomy. Our brain requires a lot of energy to function; Without evolutionary mechanisms to optimize these processes, they would not be able to reach current levels of human intelligence. This also applies to robotics: more power required reduces autonomy.
Sophisticated hardware is essential for today’s robots. There is still a lot of work to be done with artificial muscles, soft robotics and other elements that will contribute to the development of efficient machines.
The above challenges are not unique and are generally expected for any evolving technology. The potential value of robotics is immense, attracting huge investments focused on eliminating existing problems. Solutions include collaboration with artificial intelligence.
Robotics and AI
Robots have the potential to replace around 800 million jobs worldwide in the future, making around 30% of all jobs irrelevant. Not surprisingly, only 7% of companies are not currently using AI-based technology, but are looking into it. However, we must be careful when talking about robots and AI, as these terms are often assumed to be identical, which has never been the case.
The definition of artificial intelligence is about enabling machines to complete complex tasks autonomously. AI-based tools can solve complicated problems by analyzing large amounts of information and finding dependencies that are not visible to humans. At ENOT.ai, we presented six cases where improvements in navigation, detection, and power consumption ranged from 48% to 800% after applying AI.
While robotics is also related to automation, it is connecting to other fields – mechanical engineering, computer science and AI. AI-controlled robots can perform functions autonomously using machine learning algorithms. AI robots can be described as intelligent automation applications where robotics provides the body while AI provides the brain.
AI applications for robotics
The collaboration of robotics and AI is naturally called to serve humanity. Many valuable applications have been developed so far, starting with household use. For example, AI-powered vacuum cleaners have become part of everyday life for many people.
However, much more complex applications are being developed for industrial use. Let’s go through some of them:
- Agriculture. As in healthcare or other fields, robotics in agriculture will mitigate the effects of labor shortages while providing sustainability. Many apps, for example Agrobot, enable precise weeding, pruning and harvesting. Powered by sophisticated software, apps allow farmers to analyze distances, surface areas, volumes and many other variables.
- Aerospace. While NASA is trying to improve the AI of its Mars rovers and is working on an automated satellite repair robot, other companies want to improve space exploration through robotics and AI. Airbus’ CIMON, for example, was designed to assist astronauts in their daily tasks and reduce stress through speech recognition, while also acting as an early warning system to detect problems.
- Autonomous driving. After Tesla, you can’t surprise anyone with self-driving cars. Today there are two critical cases: self-driving robo-taxis and autonomous commercial trucking. In the near term, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology will be crucial as the market prepares for full autonomy and seeks to capitalize on technological capabilities.
With advances in artificial intelligence accelerating by leaps and bounds each year, it’s entirely possible that the line between robotics and artificial intelligence will continue to blur over the coming decades, leading to a leap in valuable applications.
Main Market Tendency
The competitive field of artificial intelligence in robotics is becoming more and more fragmented with the growing market and offers clear opportunities for robot suppliers. Businesses are poised to leverage the first-mover advantage and seize the opportunities presented by different technologies. Also, vendors see expansion in terms of product innovation and global impact as a way to capture maximum market share.
However, there is a clear need to increase the number of market participants. The potential of robotics to replace human grunts promises to be hugely momentous, freeing people’s time for creativity. So we need a lot more players to speed up the process.
Future of AI in robotics
Artificial intelligence and robotics have already formed a concrete target for business investment. This technology alliance will undoubtedly change the world and we can hope that this will happen in the coming decade. AI enables robotic automation to improve and execute complicated operations without a hint of error: an easy path to excellence. Both industries are the driving force of the future and we will see many amazing technological inventions based on AI in the next decade.
Sergei Aliamkin, Ph.D. is CEO and founder of ENOT.
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