Innova Research recently released the top 8 emerging trends in the world of robotics for 2017 and beyond. These trends covered the market growth, the technology development, laws and regulations for robotics, and the development of new robotics business models.
The growth of collaborative robot market will accelerate
Since its market introduction in 2014, collaborative robot has successfully penetrated into major industry robot market segments in automotive and electronics industries. Innova Research estimated that collaborative robot occupied approximately 4% of the industrial robot shipments in 2015. The share of collaborative robots will keep growing in the next few years. On the other hand, despite the forecast quick growth, collaborative robots are not aiming to replace the traditional industrial robots; instead, they will be a supplement to the traditional industrial robots. While traditional robots have an advantage on the price/performance ratio, collaborative robots are much more flexible in their roles.
The Introduction of the first laws and regulations for robotics are expected
While the “machine to replace human” is still at its early stage, the conflicts between human workers and robots for job opportunities may lead to the introduction of the first laws and regulations, to protect the human workers from losing their jobs, in the next few years.
Robots will be increasingly integrated with AI and IOT technologies
The commercial value of robots dramatically increases when they are connected, rather than isolated. The convergence of robots with AI and IOT technologies is propelling the adoption of robots in more and more industry and business applications. Connected robots will become one of the data entrances in the future “internet of things”. Furthermore, the adoption of various artificial intelligence technologies on robots dramatically improves the self-learning hence the down-stream capabilities of robots, such as the capability to work in unknown environments.
Human-machine interface (HMI) technologies will be improved rapidly
HMI technology is the key to enable robots to communicate with humans, and further, to make robots and humans understand each other accurately. In the past few years, voice recognition and other HMI technologies draw the attentions of many global AI and IOT technology giants. Benefited from the development of big data and other relevant technologies, voice recognition and other HMI technologies will be improved rapidly in the next few years.
Cloud robots will co-exist with other robots for a long time
Cloud robots store their powerful computing capability in the clouds, and are able to share their knowledge and experiences amongst other robots, result in stronger learning capability. On the other hand, keeping strong computing power locally in the robots will ensure faster response, higher data safety and not restricted by the quality of internet connections. Innova Research predicts that both ways will find their applications and co-exist for a long time.
Robots will be adopted by a lot of new applications, but starting from “to B”, not “to C”
Robots were first adopted by the manufacturing industries and have successfully penetrated into other applications in medical, agriculture, logistics, among other areas. There is no doubt that the adoption of robots in new applications will accelerate in the next few years. However, Innova Research believes that such adoption will first happen in “to B” markets, instead of “to C” markets. This is mainly because the capability of consumer robots (exclude sweeping machines), are still far from users’ expectations at the moment. It will take time to develop the necessary technology breakthroughs before the mass adoption of consumer robots.
Robot-as-a-service (RaaS) will be widely adopted
Robots will be used as a platform to offer the relevant services, and customers will pay according to the service type and the time taken by the service. This business model allows the users enjoy the benefit of using robots while avoiding the large initial investment of buying them. Innova Research predicts that, by 2020, 30% robots will be sold on the RaaS business model in the global robotics market.
Decreased on the cost of general electronics components will drive down the costs of robots
The increasing adoption of general electronics components, such as MEMS sensors and machine vision systems, in consumer electronics devices will effectively drive down their prices due to the economy of scale. In turn, the decrease of the prices for these components will further drive down the costs of robots in the next few years, which will have positive influence on the adoption of robots both in the industry and the service robot sectors.
Richard Jun Li, Vice President of Innova Research commented: “Collaborative robot as a disruptive innovation will change the working relationship between human and robots. The development of HMI technology and the convergence of robot with AI and IOT technologies will effectively improve the capabilities of mutual understanding between human and robots. Besides, the introduction of the first laws for robotics will help to incorporate robots into the human society.”