Robotics Industry Predictions
It’s clear that robotics will have a dominant influence on 2019, but how might it play out? Here are six possibilities:
1. The Potential for Drone Deliveries Will Become More Apparent
Although many people are frustrated that Amazon doesn’t seem to be making rapid progress with its drone delivery service, that doesn’t mean other companies aren’t seeing what’s possible. Numerous companies will test drone deliveries in 2019.
For example, Wing will make deliveries in Finland ranging from over-the-counter medications to household supplies like ice scrapers. Also, residents of Moose Factory, Ontario will have parcels transported to their island by drone starting in March. It’s typically difficult for supplies to arrive via traditional methods, but drones could overcome some of the known obstacles.
Although these projects may encounter some snags, they’ll also likely help companies determine which projected uses are feasible and which they should scrap.
2. Legged Robots for the Commercial Sector Will Become More Popular
Companies have attempted to make biped robots that walk instead of roll around on wheels, but past efforts have proved cumbersome and expensive. Perhaps 2019 could be the year that changes, especially since several companies are working on legged robots for commercial use. Representatives propose various possible applications for the bots, such as in the construction sector or as another option for home deliveries.
One company, Boston Dynamics, is under contract with clients to produce a set number of its legged robots each year. If these early applications go well, other companies could take notice of these unexpected uses for robots with legs.
3. Dependence on Robots as Service Providers Will Increase
In 2019, companies will likely continue to examine how robots could act as service providers. Walmart plans to expand the use of its floor-cleaning robots to 360 units by the end of January. These self-propelled machines detect obstacles and humans and only need one initial training run before autonomous functionality is possible.
One recent groundbreaking trial in Japan teamed up paralyzed workers with robots to help the people work as waitstaff members in a café. Even if the employees can only move their eyes, they can make the robots move, interact with customers or carry objects remotely via the internet. The café’s organizers hope to launch a full-scale establishment in 2020.
These two examples emphasize why people will likely see companies and individuals use robots to perform more services in 2019, whether in place of workers or in partnership with them.
4. Demand for Robotics Maintenance Skills Will Grow
Since the robotics industry is changing so rapidly, the typical duties of robotics engineers will likely be different five or ten years from now than at present.
Predictions from IDC robotics analysts have a more long-term outlook than 2019 alone, but they give a glimpse of how things will change and progress starting in 2019. For example, in 2023, 50 percent of end users will depend on third-party robotics maintenance personnel to enjoy benefits ranging from more availability to greater cost-effectiveness.
The role of robot technician was tapped as one of the top ten jobs of the next decade, and analysts believe the people who perform maintenance on robots will need to give both in-person and remote assistance.
5. Robot Tests Over the 5G Network Will Continue
The 5G network will get a widespread rollout by 2020, and many companies are already conducting tests to see how their equipment performs with 5G technologies. Robots are frequently part of those tests and will remain so during 2019.
Toyota recently used a remote control to operate a robot over a 5G connection. The person controlling the robot sits inside a chair-like system that allows the individual to feel forces exerted on the machine.
Also, the Helsinki Airport — Finland’s first 5G customer — used the network for a pilot project involving a 5G-enabled robot that patrols the terminals, gives information to customers and more. More companies will undoubtedly follow suit as widespread 5G network availability nears.
6. The Popularity of Robot Security Guards Will Rise
Some companies and countries began exploring the possibility of robot security guards in 2018, and that trend will gain momentum in 2019. Reporters in Tokyo got a preview of a robot guard for train stations intended for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Cobalt Robotics wants to make robot security guards part of every office and has raised $16.5 million in funding for the project. They could protect employees and detect issues like water leaks.
Lots in Store for the Robotics Sector
This overview of some of the most likely upcoming developments for robotics in 2019 shows that people have exciting things to anticipate in the coming months.
By Kayla Matthews
Kayla Matthews is a technology writer dedicated to exploring issues related to the Cloud, Cybersecurity, IoT and the use of tech in daily life.
Her work can be seen on such sites as The Huffington Post, MakeUseOf, and VMBlog. You can read more from Kayla on her personal website.