Robotics have been disrupting industries for a long time, from manufacturing to tourism and even the healthcare industry. The main reason robotics changed the manufacturing industry is that robots can do tasks that might be repetitive and even dangerous for humans. Although the first investment that companies do when buying robots is considerably high, they’ll eventually save a lot of money that they’d otherwise spend on salaries. Besides, robots’ productivity levels are higher than humans’ in fields like logistics or manufacturing.
Now, are there any technologies disrupting robotics? We’ve always heard that robotics will transform most of the industries we currently know. But the robotics field itself will be disrupted as well by new technologies. Robots are becoming more sophisticated every day by simulating human behaviors; robotics will not only impact the manufacturing industry, but they’ll become part of our daily life. Organizations all over the world are creating robots for military purposes, as well as healthcare and safety, among many others. These machines are now more efficient and sophisticated than ever because they’re powered by machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other technologies. Here are some of the new technologies that are disrupting robotics.
Cobots Vs. Industrial Robots
Cobots are assistant robots that help humans with specific tasks that require repetitive effort. However, they don’t work entirely independently; they need humans to operate them. Although they require humans’ effort, they still make most processes a lot more efficient. Industrial robots or regular ones don’t require human intervention because they work autonomously, and they’re able to function without human help.
The debate about the utility of cobots has always been there. This is a trend that we’ll very likely experience because the desire for automation is growing for most companies. Yet, there will still be some cobots working on manufacturing SMEs because they’re less expensive than autonomous robots.
Machine learning is an in-demand technology beyond the field of robotics. Programming devices can identify data without human intervention. Machine Learning Engineers use algorithms and methods that imitate the learning dynamics of the human brain. By doing some programming processes, Machine Learning Engineers can help software machines to identify errors within the dataset or patterns.
Robot machine learning is the process that allows robots to adapt to their environment by collecting data, analyzing it and learning from it. Machine learning applied to robots is being widely implemented these days by robotics companies. They are making robots so independent and autonomous that they don’t even require human intervention to learn from their environment. Robot machine learning can help robots learn from locomotion through sensorimotor, object categorization and communication by interaction with humans.
AI is the highest level of reasoning that robots are capable of. This technology is one of the most exciting areas of robotics. In the beginning, robots were clumsy and unable to carry out complex tasks. But AI has changed that. Through deep learning algorithms, robots can implement human behavior: communication and learning skills, locomotion imitating humans and object identification, to name a few. Machine learning and AI are closely related, but they’re slightly different. While machine learning is the capacity of a device to learn without human intervention, AI is its ability to imitate humans’ behavior.
The robotics industry has used AI to create humanized robots such as Kismet, a robot developed in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Kismet is able to interact with humans and recognize humans’ voice inflection and body language. This is something that no other robot has done before, and it’s all thanks to AI.
The data science platform market size will grow at a CAGR of around 30 percent from US$37.9 billion in 2019 to US$140.9 billion by 2024, 53 percent of companies leverage data science. The reason for this is that data science can provide meaningful insights into almost every industry in the market. The robotics field is no exception. In the beginning, companies used data science to reduce the complexity of computational activities in robotics. Yet, they also used it to predict the behavior and performance of their robots.
Now, data science is used alongside machine learning and AI techniques. One of the most beneficial applications of data science is spotting errors in the functionality of robots and create insights that will help improve their performance. The relationship between data science, machine learning, AI and robotics is symbiotic. By combining all these technologies, companies can create powerful machines.
Today, most companies handle large amounts of data from different sources. In the past, all this information was wasted because companies didn’t understand its value. However, most companies are now using the information in their datasets to come up with meaningful insights that will help them make better business decisions.
Big Data is about analyzing the speed at which data is generated, its volume, and the type of information to create insights. If you’re wondering how this links to robotics, just think about the amount of data they could generate, and how it could be wasted if scientists don’t use it for an evolutionary purpose. Arthur Dubrawski, the director of Auton Lab, once said, “Robotics from the beginning has always been about data.” What’s new about it is the fact that Big Data has improved the processing capability and the storage system.
Mobile manipulation doesn’t have anything to do with phones, despite the name. It refers to a feature that allows robots to act more efficiently and autonomously. With mobile manipulation, robots can move from point A to point B, grab objects, identify them, and sort them by type, all with minimal human intervention.
This used to be the stuff of movies and science fiction shows, but it has now started to become a reality. Not many companies have successfully created these types of robots yet, but we will surely see them in the not too distant future.
Internet of Robotics Fields
Most of the activities we do in our daily life have something to do with our mobile phones. That’s why Internet of Things (IoT) devices are so convenient; because we can easily control them. But what if we could also control robots with our mobile phones?
The Internet-of-Robotic-Things (IoRT) is a relatively new field in the robotics industry that’s combining the trend of IoT devices with robots. Although this is a new field, and there are not many signs of IoRT in the current robotics field, this is something that can potentially change the way we handle robots. Have you ever imagined a robot that can automatically find a location because it uses geolocalization through Google Maps? This could be especially beneficial for the logistics industry. It could also help environmental and healthcare companies at many levels.
Technology will always be moving, and the robotics industry is just getting started. Although we have many advancements and new technologies in the robotics field, we still haven’t created 100 percent autonomous and human-like robots. But we’re close. With the use of AI, machine learning and IoRT, we could create some of the most powerful machines on earth.
Projects like Peper, Asimo and Samsung Bot Retail have already revolutionized the robotics industry. They’re an example of what’s to come. Some people think robots will take over everything. What we need to do is create regulations for developers and manufacturers to make robots that help society in the most positive ways possible.