The pace of robots’ deployment is up in non-industrial environments such as offices, restaurants, hospitals, warehouses, and educational institutions. Earlier robots were restricted to factories into industrial production.
A robot is a programmable machine that physically interacts with the world and can carry out complex actions autonomously or semi-autonomously.
In this context, cultural star Poppy’s words could be apt. She said: “The message ‘Time Is Up’ signifies that robots are starting to take over the world, and we should be aware of it because they are already walking among us.”
Robots in Amazon
The expanding use of robotics in retail has been reinforced by e-tailer Amazon with its huge army of robots at warehouses and fulfillment centers. In addition to the quarter-million robot’s fleet at Amazon, the online retail giant is also adding more airborne drones for faster deliveries.
Home improvement major, Lowe’s also introduced the LoweBot in its stores in San Francisco. These companies are looking to create a sustained competitive advantage with robotics customer-facing and warehouse robotics applications. Discount store chain Target also was in the news when it tested a robot called Tally to assess product inventory on the shelves.
The Robot story begins with the first robot for industrial application by GM’s Unimate in 1961. In the mid-20th-century many manufacturing centers in the USA, Asia, and Europe deployed a significant number of robots in several areas of industrial production.
In the food sector, there is the example of Zume Pizza using robotics and artificial intelligence to make pizza more quickly.
Their robots are working in areas such as dough making and can be seen by pressing mounds, squirting, spreading sauce, and releasing pizzas from the oven. They do all these jobs in a fraction of the time taken by human workers. Robot adoption is gaining traction on the plank of efficiency, reliability, and cost savings.
Market experts assume the robotics traction is also aided by the plunging sensor prices, open-source development, faster prototyping, and convergence of many new technologies including the Internet of Things.
Types of robots
The rising adoption of robots is also aided by the huge supply of robots in a wider number of categories. They include the following.
• Collaborative robots
• Warehousing robots
• Telepresence robots
• Healthcare robots
• Logistics automation
Robot adoption’s rise has been studied by IDC that said spending on robotics has doubled in two years from 2017 to 2019 and hit the $135.4 billion mark last year. It added that spending on services such as training, deployment, integration, and consulting accounted for $32 billion of that amount spent.
Benefits for business
For businesses, robots mean higher productivity and better turnover. Contrary to fears of job loss, there has been an increase in service sector jobs as they are hard to automate.
It may be recalled that a report by Price Waterhouse Cooper warned that 38 percent of U.S jobs will vanish by automation by the early 2030s.
Sectors poised for bigger automation and robots include transportation, storage, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail. However, the robotic invasion will be minimal in healthcare and social work.