Published on March 4th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
The Shift to Collaborative Robots Means the Rise of Robotics as a Service
There is no doubt robots can take on tedious and even dangerous tasks and do them more efficiently and tirelessly than humans. But, as Steve Sloan of Techcrunch reports, the future of robotics is one where the machines work alongside the humans with each doing what they do best. The companies that will outpace their competition are the ones that creatively balance this collaboration between man and machine and allow them to work side-by-side in an optimal way.
Photo above: inVia Robotics warehouse robots
The 2018 Holiday shopping season was the biggest on record for e-commerce, with nearly $126 billion in online sales. But as e-commerce continues to expand, the demand for warehouse workers is growing faster than the labor supply and creating an increased need for automation.
Given its dominance in e-commerce and the massive scale of its business, there’s no surprise that Amazon was one of the first companies to supplement their human workforce with robotics. Since the acquisition of Kiva in 2012, a growing army of robots performs an increasing variety of tasks at Amazon facilities. However, those tasks remain limited in their ability to displace their human counterparts entirely.
Today, robotics are more affordable to a broader array of companies, thanks to lower cost components, and advancements in technology have paved the way for the rise of the collaborative robot or “cobot”.
Cobots are more precise and increasingly flexible with advanced sensor technology, AI, Lidar/Radar, GPS, and connectivity. Machine learning has also made cobots more versatile—not just in their hardware, but in software that facilitates adaptation to a broad array of tasks. And because sensor-rich robots can adapt to a variety of new challenges on the fly, we see more use cases for real-world application.