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06Autonomous service robots remove repetitive human tasks

When robots help us with operational everyday tasks, humans can focus on strategic matters

Introduction

Today
From vacuum cleaners to human-sounding AI assistants that answer our calls, automation has been in our lives for some time - and is here to stay. Mobile robots are well established in our factory floors and indoor warehouse logistics operations. Soon, they will step off the factory floor and become fixtures of daily life. Mobile robots already act as library guides, mall security and hotel room service providers, and the number of novel use cases will continue to increase.

What will change
In the future, many of our routine tasks will be handled by autonomous robotic servants. Real-time high resolution telepresence through 5G on mobile robots will enable people to participate in society, even if they aren’t able to move by themselves. The same technology will allow for remote servicing of technical equipment in new, intelligent buildings, and cities in general. Social capabilities will give character to otherwise outlandish machines, attracting people to engage in natural interactions with them.

Emerging technologies
As technology & computing power becomes cheaper, smaller and available for all, mobile robots will become smarter and more capable of performing a variety of functions. They will be capable of autonomously equipping and using different modules that will greatly increase the number for functions they will be able to perform. Technologies such as NLP will help people empathise with these machines, boosting adoption and opening up new interaction opportunities.

Opportunities worth taking
Mobile robotics will largely shoulder humanity’s load of repetitive, non value-adding tasks, freeing us to focus on creating new services and product innovations. Multi-function, modular mobile robots will deliver vastly improved ROI, as a single robot served by an ecosystem of module vendors will serve multiple functions. This is a hugely exciting opportunity for companies to build their emerging tech expertise and innovate across the whole value and supply chain.

Opportunities
  • Retail

    Modular robotics where different use cases are autonomously catered on one platform.One retail store robot could maintain cleanliness, guide customers, and inform employees in real-time on sold out products for refill.

  • Logistics

    Last mile delivery robots like Starship are paving the way, fast followers have a chance to benefit from the legislation work that the first movers need to steer in place.

  • Built environment

    Architects, construction companies, elevator providers and other traffic planners need to consider connectivity (e.g. APIs, Wifi, location service) as well as obstacle-free movement when designing new environments.

  • Manufacturing of goods

    Autonomous servants in production floors can assist in moving goods and parts while humans focus on more strategic, manually-sophisticated tasks like crafting and sculpting.

Deep-dive into this bet

Total market 2024

Autonomous vehicles $ 261 bn with 38% CAGR, Autonomous environments will be complex combinations of rapidly growing technologies: IOT market $951bn, robotics both consumer & industrial: ~$100bn and AI market $ 146bn.

Look at these

Methodology: A high-level view gathered from various openly available data sources on market size & compound annual growth rates. To simplify comparison between analysts sources, we’ve removed differences in market details by calculating an estimated average for total market size 2024 and average CAGR for selected time period. This allows us to gain “correct enough estimates”. Unless linked directly to one source, each of our market estimate has included 2-8 sources e.g. WEF, CB Insights, Mordor Intelligence, Markets & Markets, Research & Markets, Grand View Research, PWC, Allied Market Research, McKinsey, Market Watch

Online food orders booming across Europe, modular robotics with open platform to invite developers join the community.

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Top 18 unicorn sniffing smart money VCs, 1376 investments 2018-2020

Source: Crunchbase Pro, accessed: 03/20, research of company description terms between 01/2018-02/2020, investment types: early stage investments by top 18 unicorn sniffing smart money VCs, n=1376 investments

Robotics 6%, automation 9% (includes RPA), autonomous 2%. Frameworks to automate data modeling and data creation for machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing 14%, IOT only 1%.

Special focus

Robotics as a subject is a blend of multiple novel technologies, purpose of use, human-machine interaction and impact on surroundings. End-to-end service design, ecosystem inclusion, partnership collaboration and emerging technology expertise all are needed to shape the future.

Technologies not yet matching expectations

Despite excitement, the reality is not matching the dreams as first movers are shaping the legislation, testing use cases in real life and seeking for commercialisation models. Many companies are investing in low-level autonomy pilots in robotics, computer vision and edge computing to evaluate the opportunities ahead.

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A focus on use cases instead of solutions

Instead of solely developing new technologies, focus is now shifting to finding problems worth solving. These include human work with high labour costs, dull human tasks, and tasks with environmental impact like last mile delivery.

Starship Technologies

Delivery robots taking over the pavements in UK & US campuses.

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The TUG autonomous robot by Aethon

Shaping the delivery and service experience in health care and hospitality

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Boston Dynamics

Spot robot allows building of a variety of applications including patrolling on social distancing during COVID19 or construction site safety

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Open Robotics

Non-profit organisation behind Robot Operating System (ROS) boosting the adoption of robotics by developing open source software and hardware and sharing knowledge across industry, academia and research globally

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Paro

Robot seals have been studied to reduce loneliness among elderly and dementia patients

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Robomart

Moving mini food mart shifting the stores to move to people instead the other way around.

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5G

The 5th generation of wireless technology that operates on a broader set of frequencies than 4G. This enables faster speed and latency in data transfer, as well as uninterrupted connectivity

AI/ML Artificial intelligence (AI)

Computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence by using a combination of Machine Learning (ML) toolbox of algorithms and learning rules from data.

Edge computing

A microcontroller unit (a small chip) is embedded with the ability to perform AI/ML computing offline based on sensor inputs without needing a cloud connection.

Computer vision

Using video image as a source for identifying, analysing and acting (objects & faces to provide access, personalise, charge, recommend, etc.)

Robotics

Both partially and wholly autonomous robots in applications such as logistics, storage, and industrial settings. Robotics Automation could be used for harvesting and transporting plants in vertical farms, making it more safe for humans.

Indicators of change

Political

Technological

Environmental

05 Anticipatory tech07 Working with co-bots
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  • Tuğberk Duman

    Business Consultant

    +358503266121

    tugberk.duman@futurice.com

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