In the next five years, robotics will become more common in both personal and industrial settings. They will be able to do more complex tasks and be used in a wider variety of applications. This will cause some people to worry about the impact of robots on human jobs, but the truth is that they will create many new opportunities as well. Here are some developments in the world of robotics:
Though robots are equipped with sensors to interact with the world, presently, advancement is close to reaching a plateau. Researchers now focus on more advanced ways of sensing and gripping, so that they can do jobs better suited for them. This requires developing abilities similar to humans‘, such as being able to locate and handle objects deftly.
By utilizing compelling processing capability along with tools like force control and advanced 2-D or 3-D vision, robots will become more independent. This means that the robot can then make decisions about what to do when it inevitably encounters obstacles. Fortunately, there is a new generation of integrated force control and integrated vision available today which makes these innovative technologies accessible to more end users.
Though robots can move with remarkable accuracy and consistency, they need assistance to complete tasks that require delicate handling of small objects. For these sorts of jobs, we rely on end-of-arm tooling — devices designed to closely resemble human hands in their tactile ability, flexibility, and speed. With these developments, advanced manufacturing robots will leap forward in efficiency and capability.
While companies may obsess over the idea of a fully automated production line or workforce, it is often too costly. The bigger obstacle is that there are several tasks that robots cannot do better (or even at the same level) than humans. For this reason, many businesses are now opting for solutions that use a combination of human and robotic labor.
Collaborating with robots on activities such as assembly lines is going to become increasingly prevalent in the future of industrial robotics. In fact, there might come a time when it becomes difficult to tell what has been made by a human versus what has been made by a robot—either because robots will perform better, or because human-robot collaboration will be more prevalent.
This will be most apparent when robots are still not able to perfectly copy human movement but have enough dexterity to work with fragile objects they can begin taking over jobs that currently need a human touch.
Another example of human-robot collaboration is the use of robotic exosuits among warehouse workers to improve human mobility. Devices like these help workers by supporting weight, stabilizing their joints, and letting workers lift and carry without direct load. These reduce the risk and severity of injuries, while at the same time increasing worker endurance. Wintergreen Research estimates that by 2025, the market for wearable robots and exoskeletons will balloon up to $5.2 billion.
Cobots, or robots that operate side-by-side with human employees, are becoming increasingly popular in companies as a way to reduce fatigue and improve safety. For example, simple cobots that can pick up and let go of objects can be introduced into regular operations in order to sort and package products quickly and efficiently. Another good thing about cobots is that they use cutting-edge imaging technology combined with sophisticated sensors to inspect products for quality control — something that humans struggle to do at a reliably consistent rate.
In only the past five years, industrial robots have appeared twice as much in factories. By installing safety software that controls the speed and force of motors as well as adding padding to the exterior of robots, human-robot collaboration will become even more prevalent in the near future.
Robot Interoperability Improvements
One of the main concerns for developing robotics will be how to make them work together despite coming from different companies. This is especially difficult when trying to connect human workers with robots (cobots). By breaking down barriers between platforms from different developers, we can see a significant increase in productivity and efficiency.
In much the same way that standards and open architectures were key to interoperability in the computer and telecom industries, the robotics industry will follow the customers’ call to set similar standards.
Better Cybersecurity and Hacking Safeguards
As automation becomes more prevalent, so do the threats to cybersecurity. With cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated in their attacks, it is more important than ever for companies to have robust cybersecurity measures in place.
Hackers taking control of robots could result in serious damage, disruption, and even injury, so cybersecurity will remain a top priority for robotics companies. Some of the worst cyberattacks in recent history include ransomware attacks that hostage whole systems to malware that disable power networks. Unfortunately, even robots can be affected, like with the case of the Stuxnet attacks of 2017. Companies are also realizing that other terrorists, individuals, corporations, and even government organizations are capable of doing this; all that’s missing is the intent. In addition to protecting against malicious attacks, companies also need to be concerned about unintentional breaches. With so much data being processed and transmitted by robots, it is important to have safeguards in place against data loss or theft. This also includes the leaking of data meant to be kept private, such as user information and personal details.
It is therefore imperative that companies continue to develop new ways to protect their systems from these threats. By implementing strong cybersecurity measures, they can ensure that their automation systems remain safe and secure.
As we have seen, there are many concerns and challenges that companies face as they move towards a more automated future. However, with the right planning and foresight, these challenges can be overcome. By implementing strong cybersecurity measures, safeguarding against data loss and theft, and breaking down communication barriers between different types of robots, companies can ensure that their automation systems remain safe and secure. We will continue to see rapid advancements in robotics technology in the years to come, so it is important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and prepare for what’s to come.