The market for professional service robots is booming. In 2021, the industry’s turnover rose by 12% compared to 2020, reaching a turnover of almost $7 billion USD. New consumer service robots grew even more so, up to 16% from 2020 according to the World Robotics 2021 report.

Service robot sounds like quite a general term. After all, aren’t robots here to serve humans? Under the umbrella of the service robotics industry, products exist along the lines of cleaning, medical, AMR and delivery, automated restaurant, and social robots. It’s quite the range, the amount of industries that can benefit from robots is increasing.

For example, Covid-19 spurred the development and demand for almost all of these robots. Cleaning and disinfection robots come in handy when sanitizing rooms, such as schools, whilst medical and social robots help patients who have Covid-19 rehabilitate without the need of a human. In fact, even automated restaurant robots came in handy when outbreaks occurred and staff was forced to isolate.

One of the largest sectors benefiting from automated solutions such as AMR is the delivery industry. For example, the ELI robot developed by the mobile robots company Robotnik performs exactly like a shopping cart; it follows customers around the shop, guides to specific products, and offers automatic payment solutions. The robot has voice recognition, meaning it can take instructions verbally, but it can still navigate autonomously if it needs to. The customer simply uses the screen to select products, and the ELI robot will pick them for customer whilst scanning the barcode on the way in.

Furthermore, other robots are being used to self-drive and deliver products to the front door of customers’ homes. Thus, it isn’t just the contactless-free pandemic world that’s spurring on the demand for robots, but our insatiable desire for on-demand, instant delivery of products.

The takeover of AMRs

Automated mobile robots (AMRs) are reaching a lot of different industries. One example of a recent increase in AMR usage is within agriculture, in which AMRs can be used to fulfill labour shortages and optimize harvesting. AMRs can scan the entire field, assessing its health, waste, and even spray pesticides on the plants that need them – thus reducing wastage and increasing efficiency.

There are even instances where the sensors, cameras, and AI involved are better at decision-making than humans. Not only more accurate but can make instant decisions and react accordingly. Harvesting has a lot of scope for data and analysis, something that is achievable through using automated robotics that can gather, store, and analyze data. Plus, collaborative arms can even handle fruit, meaning there’s a lot of scope for cutting labour costs.

Robotics companies such as Robotnik are involved in robotics R&D, in which they work with customers to solve unique problems and create custom industrial robots on demand, matching the needs of the emerging industries. Those custom robots can be prototyped more easily than before to offer solutions that the market doesn’t offer yet.

Construction is another industry that’s benefiting greatly from robotics, in which they can assess the progress of a project, detect early errors, and automate dangerous tasks to improve health and safety. Sometimes AI can produce predictions and insights that we haven’t programmed it to do – it has self-taught through complex pattern recognition that is beyond our own capability. It’s not that robots are here to take over, but they’re here to help – providing we teach robotics in schools.

In fact, they’re being widely used in the military to keep entire nations safe, if the public doesn’t hear much about the R&D. robotics are being used to patrol and monitor areas on a 24/7 basis, with an advanced level of threat detection and assessment. Real-time data can be gathered with early detection of dangerous incidents – again, through complex pattern recognition that  we couldn´t possibly perform ourselves – along with transporting goods and people.

A robot is the perfect device to send to a potential bomb for defusal or assessment because it can save a human life. It’s also likely they will become more involved in conflict for this very reason, to be able to fire without risking personnel.

There is no predicting where AMRs will take us. Customer service, such as working in a retail shop, will likely become a novel service that customers pay a premium for – otherwise, it will be AMRs being used all the way from harvesting goods, packaging them, and delivering them to customers. Despite the possible threats this possesses to the labour market, it offers vast amounts of productive potential for business owners, along with cost-saving potential for customers.


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