Robotics is the overlapping of the computer science and engineering fields. It’s dedicated to the designing, manufacturing, and use of autonomous, semi-autonomous, and non-autonomous robots.
The study of the field aims to create machines that are intelligent and dexterous, allowing them to assist humans in a wide variety of scenarios, from scientific experimentation and medical to life-threatening circumstances.
See below to learn all about the global robotics market:
The global service robotics market was estimated at $34.4 billion in 2020. It’s expected to maintain a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21.2% over the forecast period from 2020 to 2026, reaching $110.4 billion by the end of it.
By type, the hardware segment of the global market is projected to have a CAGR of 20.7% over the analysis period, while the software segment is forecast to have a 22.8% CAGR over the same analysis period.
Regionally, the global robotics market is segmented as follows:
- The U.S. market was estimated at $13.6 billion in 2021
- The Chinese market is forecast to reach $9.5 billion by 2026, trailing a CAGR of 27.4% over the analysis period
- Japan and Canada are each expected to grow at 18.1% and 19.4% over the period from 2020 to 2026
- Within Europe segment, Germany is forecast to maintain one of the highest CAGRs at 20.1%
By industry vertical, the health care industry is one of the leading users of robotics in the global market.
Other notable industry verticals include:
- Food preparation
- Military and defense
The future influence of robotics on the job market
Robots have been around for decades in factories and warehouses in their most rudimentary form as automated machines. With the growth of hardware and software advancements in the field of robotics, estimates suggest a total count of 20 million robots by 2030.
Similarly, a McKinsey report estimates a decline of 18% in physical and manual labor and 28% in basic cognitive skills-based labor by 2030, which could make room for more jobs with expertise in STEM and socioemotional skills, in addition to major advances in health care and defense technology.
“The rapid rise of robots means that we’re witnessing a major shift in the types of jobs that make up our workforce — while many jobs and job roles are being eliminated, new ones are being created, and the vast majority of them are designed to improve AI or to use the results of AI (i.e., perform judgment),” says Toby McClean, member of the Forbes Technology Council.
“These new jobs will focus on more complex problems requiring higher-level critical thinking and analytical skills, and they will be needed across industries.”
The field of robotics is vast and can be categorized in numerous ways depending on specific features. Most commonly, robots are categorized by their autonomy levels and the tasks they’re capable of performing
Autonomous robots are capable of acting and performing tasks without needing human control or supervision. While not strictly necessary, autonomous robots are becoming increasingly more dependent on artificial intelligence (AI) to navigate their surroundings independently.
Semi-autonomous robots are less independent than their fully autonomous counterparts. Capable of making decisions and performing actions on their own, they need real-time directions in some situations.
Non-autonomous robots are all robots that require external intervention to operate. This includes remote-controlled robots that must receive directions in real-time from a human in order to act.
When divided into more task-specific categories, robots can be found in a variety of categories, such as:
Articulated robots, or robotic arms, are robots with rotary joints meant to emulate the human arm, usually on a bigger scale. They contain anywhere from two to 10 rotary joints, with varying degrees of motion and dexterity.
While they tend to overlap in function and ability with other types, humanoid robots are distinctly recognizable with their human-like forms. Their capabilities, levels of intelligence, and autonomy depend on their functional purpose and whether it’s meant to interact with people in an environment or it’s simply for research purposes.
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are designed to function alongside humans. Cobots are capable of safely working in environments shared with humans, allowing them to increase productivity. They’re also used in minimizing the risks of manual and dangerous tasks.
Soft robots are one of the latest robotics inventions that replace solid materials with soft alternatives. These use pressurized gas or liquid to maintain their shape and move around. They vary in their degree of autonomy, but are more flexible than the average robot, making them ideal for handling delicate objects or accessing narrow spaces.
Benefits of robotics
Robotics continues to be one of the most revolutionary inventions, due to their contribution to a wide variety of fields, ranging from medicine and health care to manufacturing and high-risk work.
Some notable benefits of robotics include:
- Improve worker safety
- Operate faster than human workers
- Guarantee consistent results
- Ability to work 24/7
- Scale production
- Cost-effective in the long run
- Highly-versatile and flexible
Robotics use cases
Robotics solutions tend to be customizable to meet the specific demands of the business or manufacturer it serves:
Amazon Robotics, formerly known as Kiva Systems, is a software developer and manufacturer of machinery used in Amazon’s warehouses and fulfillment centers. Based in Massachusetts, its main product is mobile robotic order fulfillment systems.
Switching from a manual item scanning model to machine learning (ML), Amazon Robotics stayed under the same brand name. Working with AWS, it used Amazon SageMaker to help its developers prepare, build, train, and deploy their ML models on the fulfillment robots.
“Amazon SageMaker doesn’t just manage the hosts we use for inferencing. It also automatically adds or removes hosts as needed to support the workload,” says Eli Gallaudet, senior software manager, Amazon Robotics.
“Amazon SageMaker doesn’t just manage the hosts we use for inferencing. It also automatically adds or removes hosts as needed to support the workload.”
Amazon Robotics was able to save 50% on inferencing costs, improve computer performances by 40%, and was able to save 20% on its computing costs.
Alliora is a cardboard box manufacturer based in northwestern France. It produces a wide variety of boxes for clients in a range of markets, such as cosmetics, board games, and champagne.
Alliora attempted to introduce automation to the production line with an industrial robot that was difficult to use. However, the need for automation was still important, as the repetitive tasks led some employees to develop musculoskeletal disorders.
Contacting one of its local robotics distributors, Sterkelec, Alliora ended up using the Robotiq Palletizing Solution, which consists of a collaborative robot arm and a vacuum-powered end-effector.
“I am not a roboticist. I’m not an automatician. But Davy Pourrieau [Sterkelec’s product manager] explained it to me right away, and within 45 minutes, I understood how the system worked,” says Éric Bleau, production director, Alliora.
Using a cobot on one of its production lines, Alliora was able to hire two fewer workers during its high production periods and achieve an overall smoother production line.
Kidd Creek Mine
Kidd Creek Mine is an underground metal mine located in Ontario, Canada. Owned and run by Glencore, a Swiss multinational company, the mine’s operations are supported by numerous unmanned aerial services as well as underground inspection specialists.
The workers at the Kidd Creek Mine are used to traditional tools in their work and inspections. They also used basic robots to access prospective mining areas to ensure the safety of the miners.
Working with Boston Dynamics and its four-legged robot, Spot, they had access to more accurate data. The automated robot withstands an array of harsh terrain with no problem.
“Having a tool that can quickly, reliably get into everywhere that we need to get information and bring it back to us is invaluable to our business,” says Iain McKillip, manager of mine technical services, Kidd Operations.
As engineering-driven mining relies primarily on up-to-date data, Boston Dynamics has enabled Kidd Creek to obtain a continuous stream of data to make decisions concerning worker safety.
Some of the leading providers of robotics solutions and innovations in the in the. market include:
- Boston Dynamics
- ABB Limited
- Mitsubishi Electric
- Honda Motor
- Universal Robots A/S
- Intuitive Surgical
- Toyota Motor
- Samsung Electronics
- SeaRobotics Corporation