Business robotics: All the information people need to know

Business robotics:

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Business robotics: Introduction

Over the past 50 years, one type of robot has persisted: the towering one-armed Goliaths that rule industrial assembly lines.

These industrial robots were designed with a specific duty in mind; for example, they could spot weld or add threads to the end of a pipe. They may not be attractive, but they revolutionized industrial production in the second half of the 20th century, and with it, the low- and medium-skilled labor market in most of the US, Asia, and Europe.

Over the past several years, you’ve definitely heard a lot more talk about robots and robotics. This is due to the fact that the sector is currently reshaping global economies for the first time since the introduction of GM’s Unimate, widely considered the first industrial robot, in 1961.

However, this time, the effects will be more widespread. a lot bigger. That is especially true in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has advanced automation adoption in a number of industries as producers, fulfillment centers, retailers, and restaurants want to build robust, hygienic processes that can weather changing disruptions and laws.

In offices, hospitals, and schools—clearly not industrial settings—as well as in warehouses, fulfillment centers, and small manufacturing facilities—robots are appearing increasingly often. They are flying overhead and appearing on our highways more frequently.

And those are just a few areas where robots are quickly gaining ground because they can complete tasks more quickly, consistently, with fewer worker disturbances, and for less money than was previously conceivable.

Many individuals are delighted about this, while others are concerned. Many issues have been raised by the industry’s astonishing rate of development.

Business robotics: The major issues will be covered in this manual, which was developed with the enterprise in mind. Additionally, it will provide you with the background so that you may judge others. It will also help you understand an industry that is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 26% and reach $210 billion by 2025, with enormous implications for business and daily life.

Definition of a robot

In offices, hospitals, and schools—clearly not industrial settings—as well as in warehouses, fulfillment centers, and small manufacturing facilities—robots are appearing increasingly often. They are flying overhead and appearing on our highways more frequently.

And those are just a few areas where robots are quickly gaining ground because they can complete tasks more quickly, consistently, with fewer worker disturbances, and for less money than was previously conceivable.

As a better explanation,

A robot is a controllable mechanism that can be programmed to physically interact with its environment and perform a complicated sequence of tasks independently or partially autonomously.

Why has the subject developed so much in recent years?

Four factors exist:

  • decreasing sensor costs
  • open-source software
  • fast prototyping 
  • Diverse technologies are combined.


Business robotics:

Sensors The need for mobile computing has accelerated the development of robotics by driving down the cost of sensors, their development, and their downsizing. 

In the past, each accelerometer was expensive—often by the hundreds. 

Now that smartphones are capable of capturing spectacular video, fixing location and providing navigation, interacting with other devices, and transmitting over many spectrum bands, robots can move through our environment efficiently.

Another factor is the pervasiveness of IoT devices. There will be 100 billion Internet of Things-connected gadgets by 2025, and they will bring in $10 trillion in income. For the first time, sensors that record and transmit information about pressure, torque, and position are incredibly affordable, spurring a surge in robotics research.

Similar to this, costs for lidar and infrared sensors—previously the most costly sensing tools for self-guiding robots—have dropped by 90%, in large part due to Google’s Waymo and other companies active development of self-driving cars. And because to some clever work with algorithms, 3D cameras, which were previously only accessible to the richest R&D teams and Hollywood titans, are now readily available off-the-shelf.

open-source programming

Business robotics:

The Robotic Operating System (ROS) was first publicized in a paper given at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in 2009. The first common operating system for robotics development is ROS. Additionally, it is open source, free, and naturally adaptable, saving robotics developers the time-consuming effort of creating an OS from start.

Although there are many open-source users, open-source alternatives have traditionally been seen as alternatives to proprietary operating systems like Windows since they gained popularity first. Not so with robots, where open source is now the standard and has sparked a rush of research using crowdsourcing.

The robotics simulator Gazebo, developed by Open Robotics, which is in charge of ROS, enables developers to test robots in a simulated environment without endangering their hardware.
How much of an influence did ROS and Gazebo have? In the prestigious DARPA Robotics Challenge, there were 23 teams competing, 18 of them deployed robots running ROS, and 14 of them used Gazebo to test their humanoid rivals in virtual surroundings.

The investment is the evidence. More than $150 million in venture capital investment was given to businesses that were creating ROS-powered robots in 2015.

Prototyping quickly

Business robotics:

Though we have yet to determine if 3D printers will fundamentally alter how (and where) consumer items are made, additive manufacturing has had a significant influence on the advancement of robots. Robotics Tomorrow, a company that monitors the sector, claims that 3D printing “allows the developer to move from a mind-bending vision to a concrete product in a matter of hours (or days)”.

Robotics development is now much more accessible thanks to printers found in maker spaces and university engineering departments, some of which support multi-material and metal printing. Want proof? Just take a look at how many robotics projects are now active on Kickstarter.

Innovation happens when engineers are able to create prototype parts on their workbench.

Convergence of technologies

The great popularity of mobile computing has sparked advancements in speech and object recognition, which have obvious implications in robotics, just like it did when sensor prices began to fall. Robots are navigating the chaos of the unstructured human environment with the aid of 3D gaming sensors. Additionally, businesses like Google, Amazon, and Apple have been working hard to put a few limited platforms for artificial intelligence online and into homes.

All of this has occurred in tandem with the predicted yearly gains in computer power, the introduction of the cloud, and the IoT. When you put everything together, you can see that a lot of the technology that roboticists have been anticipating has developed in the past few years.


It is hard to discuss the future of automation without mentioning COVID-19 and the significant shutdowns and job losses it caused.

COVID-19 may prove to be an accelerant if the seeds of a robotic revolution have been growing for more than ten years, dating back to the research facility Willow Garage and the ground-breaking robotics research that started arriving from DARPA competitions in the early 2000s.

The official stance in the sector has been that robots aren’t intended to replace workers but rather to make the job simpler for skilled experts. Marketing experts make a ton of money by selling that idea, and it’s a convincing sales pitch that’s definitely easy to accept during a labor shortage in a booming economy when the human toll of automation is difficult to estimate.

A pandemic might alter that. The respectful tone toward the worker, whom automation was hailed as assisting, has been replaced with another pitch: Automation can fill in for human workers who must stay at home as a result of business closures or budget cuts.

“The majority of the industry’s automation technology is employed to eliminate manual labor from routine and easy tasks. However, we anticipate that more sophisticated manufacturing processes may involve collaborative robots in the future “Felix Yang, Accelerated Digitalization Lead, Greater China at SF DHL China, the biggest third-party logistics company in the world and a ForwardX customer, adds.

Jobs are being replaced by robots. Are the worries well-founded?

The argument of doom and gloom

What noise can you hear? An enormous wormhole opening. On this topic, many intelligent people have staked out polar opposite points of view, thus I strongly caution against taking anyone’s assertions regarding these topics at face value.

There are undoubtedly some signs of doom. According to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research research, there were “significant and robust negative impacts of robots on employment and income across commuting zones” as industrial robot usage expanded in the US from 1990 to 2007. Technologists frequently rely on historical statistics to support the claim that the new opportunities given by robots have not sufficiently replaced the employment lost to them.

The present robotics boom mostly began after 2007, and it is difficult to link the influence of robots on employment in sectors as dissimilar as manufacturing and healthcare, thus those findings are not predictive and should be interpreted appropriately.

But the worries are legitimate enough that powerful people are paying attention. For instance, Bill Gates has expressed support for a robot tax, which would restore the income tax lost by the government when a robot eliminates human employment by levying a fee on the labor that robots perform. The country that comes the closest to that approach is South Korea, which also looks prepared to end tax breaks for businesses that invest in automation. The president of South Korea is concerned that the robotic age’s increased unemployment would make a robust welfare system necessary, which is a major issue because the government would be collecting fewer taxes to fund such a system during a downturn in employment.

According to a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper analysis, automation may cause the loss of up to 38% of US employment by the early 2030s. The danger appears to be largest in the manufacturing (46%) and wholesale and retail (44%) sectors, and lowest in the health and social work (17%) sectors.

However, such conclusions are unavoidably hypothetical, which explains the wide variety of forecasts about the future of employment that appears plausible if robots can perform many tasks now performed by people.

It’s not that simple.

Business robotics: On the opposite side of the argument, there is a solid case that automation has led to net employment growth rather than regional job losses. The trade organization A3, which published research finding that both overall employment and robot shipments grew during non-recessionary times dating back to 1996, is one supporter of this theory. That suggests, according to Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, “that robots weren’t eliminating jobs,” he said.

The International Federation of Robots published research a few years ago that examined the usage of robotics in China, Japan, Brazil, and India. Unemployment decreased as the usage of robots increased in those nations.

Robotics investment increased to $135.4 billion in 2019 from $71 billion two years prior, according to IDC. The research estimates that $32 billion of it will go into services like training, implementation, integration, and consultancy, creating a significant number of new employment.

Business robotics: Even the often mentioned PWC study isn’t entirely depressing. Robots boost output, and increased output typically leads to financial success. This has historically resulted in more positions in the service sector, which are difficult to automate.

The methodology of each of these reports has several weaknesses. And that’s the key point: It is difficult to forecast how technology will affect the future, especially when such innovations are expected to radically disrupt the current economic paradigm. Martin Ford, a writer, predicts something far bleaker, whereas Ray Kurzweil predicts paradise in the general wake of that uncertainty.

The PWC analysis ultimately reaches what could be the most logical, albeit frustratingly nebulous, conclusion. What will happen is not really obvious. Average pre-tax earnings ought to increase as productivity does. However, the advantages won’t be shared equally among socioeconomic or educational groups.

What types of robots are changing the world right now?

There are many categories available, however, you should be aware of the following:

  • robots working together
  • Automated logistics and storage utilizing telepresence robots
  • medical robots
  • Autonomous vehicles

Robots that work together

Over the past few years, a new breed of collaborative robots has appeared. These collaborative robots, the majority of which have one or more articulated limbs, are flexible and simple to reprogramme on the fly, in contrast to the heavy industrial robots of the 20th century. Many models pick up new skills by observing people perform jobs.

Collaborative robots from manufacturers like Universal Robots, Rethink Robotics, and ABB is mostly safe due to their capacity to avoid collisions and, using very accurate torque sensors, to detect when they have brushed against something or someone inappropriately. With that skill, the bots may work alongside humans and outside of safety cages, increasing efficiency for industrial firms. The “collaborative” moniker refers to the ability of the robots to learn difficult jobs and then use their dexterous second pair of hands to supplement the talents of competent people.

Why does it affect the game?

Manufacturing sectors like the automotive and electronics industries are seeing an increase in automation, and order fulfillment warehouses are quickly catching up. Small- and mid-sized manufacturers are beginning to use robots as the cost of task flexible platforms declines. However, a feasible future in which robots completely replace industrial employees is still a long way off. In the meanwhile, safety remains the first priority since economics favor a mixed approach.

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