• Machine Learning
  • Robotic Process Automation
  • Automation

Technological Advancement Supports Commercial Robot Market Growth

Young Hoon Kim
Jan 12, 2021

Guidehouse Insights

Robots are increasingly taking on dangerous tasks, replacing humans in critical hazardous and unsanitary environments. In October 2020, engineers from the University of Bristol visited Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to create a three-dimensional map of nuclear radiation distribution. They were able to do so without endangering people's lives by using Spot, a robot from Boston Dynamics. 

In another example, Indian startup Genrobotic built a cleaning robot for sewers. This technological innovation started in 2016 when four students heard about people losing lives while cleaning sewers.

Robots are also taking on tedious tasks such as cleaning floors in commercial buildings, managing inventory in warehouses, and delivering boxes. In these business segments, robots are aiding humans by providing autonomous floor cleaning and machine learning-powered logistics and delivery.

Robots Need Improvement to Fully Replicate Human Tasks

Robots are already helping people in various places where humans don’t want to go. But so far, robots are taking a supporting role—most cannot work autonomously yet. Robots require innovation to work as standalone machines without human guidance and instruction.
Many OEMs and software developers are focused on advancing robots to perform tasks autonomously within specific business segments. For instance, Brain Corp is developing operating software that uses machine learning and computational vision for self-driving robots. The company continually upgrades its Brain OS software for autonomous driving robots by teaming up with numerous hardware provider partners such as SoftBank, Nilfisk, and Tennant.

Technological innovations on artificial limb and brace movement are also driving further growth in the level of sophisticated tasks robots can perform. In November 2020, at the Daegu Global Robot Business Forum in South Korea, the director of CJ Logistics TES Innovation Center gave a presentation on robotic application in logistics and delivery. An attendee questioned whether CJ plans to use a door-to-door robot delivery service to address the drastic increase in demand for household package delivery as a result of the pandemic. The answer was no because, although available robot solutions can transport packages from one place to another, current robots have limitations. They lack an arm sensitive enough to pick up and drop a box right in front of a door, take a picture of the house number and package, then ring the bell, which are all essential parts of the home delivery process.

Continued Innovation Increases Robot Use Cases

Despite requiring multiple technological advancements to be fully autonomous, robots in commercial segments are already assisting humans in a variety of scenarios. The technology has substantial room to grow to address the three Ds of robotics—dangerous, dull, and dirty tasks—that can be applied across a variety of use cases, including cleaning, surveying, managing inventory, and making deliveries. Without a doubt, continued technological innovation is pushing robots to autonomously perform tasks, further alleviating humans from the burden of dangerous and repetitive work.