06Autonomous service robots remove repetitive human tasks
When robots help us with operational everyday tasks, humans can focus on strategic matters
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.
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.
This is where the open-minded, the visionaries, the rebels and disruptors design new digital customer experiences for the world to come. Are you one of us?
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.
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.
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.
Why is this relevant
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
Online food orders booming across Europe, modular robotics with open platform to invite developers join the community.
Top 18 unicorn sniffing smart money VCs, 1376 investments 2018-2020
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%.
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.
Things to consider
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.
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.
Technologies that will enable the shift
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. This doesn’t mean 4G is already redundant, but IoT-services & autonomous connectivity are considered to require 5G connections.
AI/ML Artificial intelligence (AI)
Computer systems that accomplish goals in some task(s). It is not a single thing; it is a combination of technologies such as machine learning. Machine Learning (ML): toolbox of algorithms and techniques that learn rules from data. Used to implement AI in narrow tasks. Not magic; learns from the data by minimising a cost function.
Components that are required to run an ML Algorithm locally on a device. In 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.
Using video image as a source for identifying, analysing and acting (objects & faces to provide access, personalise, charge, recommend, etc.)
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.
Recently published Existing EU level guidelines give an open playground for tech and service providers
“Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efﬁcient transport system” “Research and innovation for Europe’s future mobility. Developing a European transport-technology strategy”
Push for cost-saving from non-value adding tasks
Need for productivity over the clock
Massive opportunity to increase productivity in different sectors
The increasing need for mobility
Addressing disabilities & accessibility
Aging (and decreasing) workforce push a need for automating / robots implementing routine tasks
Increasing people well-being by automating blue-collar work and educating people more towards knowledge work
Advances on edge AI and 5G technology
Reducing cost of autonomous systems
AI enabled RPA, implementing cognitive tasks
Social and delivery robots, such as Starship
Standards & regulations are paving the way for autonomous systems
Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe” , and the “Directive on Intelligent Transport Systems”
Reduction in road traffic of everything, delivery robots, drones, cars
Factory automation help to adjust energy loads, lower heating requirements and minimize waste.
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