Are robots taking over? If so, it might not necessarily be a bad thing. According to Loup Ventures research, the industrial robotics market is expected to grow to $33.8 billion by 2025. Yet, we’re already seeing more robots in unexpected places such as agriculture, sports, shopping malls, and our homes.
Where will they pop up next?
One important application of robotics is in agriculture. Factors like climate change, farm size, and pests can often result in inefficiencies in agriculture, and robotics can help not only increase yield, but improve it by providing important data, or help in other ways we hadn’t previously thought.
For example, consider RoboBees by Harvard University. These robotic bees made their debut in 2013 with potential practical applications including crop pollination, search-and-rescue operations, and even a potentially new class of medical devices.
Ladybird is another robot with agricultural applications. An electric vehicle inspired by the ladybug insect, it has hardware that can sense, manipulate, and communicate with the purpose of providing farmers with important data and identifying issues in the fields which humans may not be able to detect.
Robots probably shouldn’t compete in sports competitions against humans, but there are many ways in which they can be used to improve performance and optimize processes. From robot coaches to robotic sensors that can track puck movement in NHL games, the applications for robotics in sports are seemingly endless.
One of the simplest ways they are helping in sports, though, is by picking up tennis balls! We’ve all seen young ball boys and girls — and even dogs — running around the tennis court, collecting tennis balls, but why not use a robot? Very much like how your household Roomba might go around picking up dirt, the Tennis Ball Boy rolls around the court picking up tennis balls.
Food & entertainment
In 2018, Alibaba opened a restaurant called Robot.he, where customers can use an app to book a table, order their food, and pay, while robots move on tracks in the restaurant, fulfilling orders. Competitor JD.com also announced last year it’s intentions to open 1,000 robot-staffed restaurants across China by 2020, with the first opening this past November.
While we may not even realize it, robots and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are becoming commonplace in our daily lives. The exciting ways in which robots can continue to transform our daily experiences will come to light as more and more development is done in this field.