Seldom do robots come up in conversation without the discussion of potential world domination. Will robots take all of our jobs away? Will robots replace us? Will robots take control and take over? While these exaggerated hypotheticals aren’t strictly true, robots are becoming increasingly present across a variety of industries and with a 135 billion pound market; the business of robots is not to be downplayed.
As the robotics industry is rapidly advancing, the time to start a business in this area is now – the sooner, the better. There are several key reasons as to why the development of robots is so prevalent. With that insight, a robot-focused business could be incredibly lucrative.
What is a Robot?
In basic terms, a robot is an autonomous or semi-autonomous machine, which has been programmed to carry out a series of actions. But defining exactly what a robot may be is challenging, as their characteristics, values and purposes are often incredibly varied and most definitions can seem to broad or too specific.
Robots are often used to carry out tasks that require efficiency, accuracy and speed. They cannot be affected by emotions in the same way a human carrying out a similar task may be. In most instances the use of robots although costly in the beginning, but will often save money in the long run.
Common types of robot include collaborative robots, logistics and warehousing automation, healthcare robots and self-driving vehicles. However, with the development of robotic technologies at an all time high, new and innovative uses are starting to gain traction.
One of the main reasons robots have been developed and improved upon is down to the falling price of sensors.
As mobile computing gains in popularity, the demand for consumer electronics increases with it. This has lead to the advances, the falling prices, and the miniaturization of sensor technology.
Where beforehand the payout for a sensor would have been crucial and costly, now all smartphones are able to capture most of the data required for many robotic types. Smartphones can record acceleration, image, find locations and connect with other devices due to the developments in sensor technology, all of which benefit the functionality and productivity of a robot. For the first time, sensors that capture and send data related to pressure, torque, and position are affordable – a catalyst for the robotic abilities advancing.
Most importantly, the price of infrared sensors has severely dropped. This once expensive sensor is now affordable due to the development of technologies such as self-driving cars and drones. Self-driving systems rely on infrared sensors to map out the space in front. As self-driving features are now commonplace in most modern cars, the manufacturing of infrared sensors has evolved and increased, hence the decrease in price. Infrared sensors are stocked almost everywhere and used in a wide range of every-day appliances. As the sensors are now so affordable and readily available – like the infrared sensors on RS Components –the development of robots is easier than ever before.
The advances in robot technology has not only brought down the prices of sensors, but also encouraged other important areas of development. Voice recognition and object definition are two vital applications in robot design. As Apple, Google and other tech heavyweights strive to employ artificial intelligence and voice recognition to create ‘personal assistants’ such as Siri and Alexa, the robotics industry is reaping the benefits.
Internet of Things:
The concept of the Internet of Things has been around since 1989, but it is only now that we are starting to see the theory in practice. The idea is that most devices and inanimate objects could one day be connected using both sensors and the Internet. With sensors being made cheaper, smaller and more efficient than ever before, many more devices are now able to collect
In effect, the more devices that are connected allows for more data to be collected. The extra data can be fed back to a robot to process a more accurate and efficient way of navigating the world around it, in whatever context the robot is situated.
Robotic Operating System:
At the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in 2009, the first Robotic Operating System was presented and it has been an open source for robotics developers ever since.
From then onwards, developers no longer had to start from scratch when developing an operating system which gave them the freedom and flexibility to think of innovative adaptations and build on what was already there.
Robots in Business
Robots are everywhere – in our offices, hospitals, schools, warehouses, factories – and our reliance on them is only set to increase. The use of robots is often debated, but the benefits are clear. Robotic technologies allow for cheaper, accurate and more efficient results.
Whilst the uncertainty as to whether robots will take over all jobs continues, right now we can be sure that the business of robotics is still evolving.
Be part of the revolution and capitalize on the progressive evolution of robotic technologies.