Where is robotics going? Perspectives from iRobot (Colin Angle), Stanley Black & Decker and robots serving the environment
The dream of robots and intelligent machines capable of performing a wide range of tasks has been part of common visions and fantasies of people for centuries. Machines that can do people’s jobs without having people’s faults is one of those long-awaited visions of the future. Originally intended as physical systems, the term robot is now used to describe any sort of software or hardware automation, whether intelligent or not, that can perform a task that would otherwise require human labor or material. grey.
Since the term robot was first coined in 1920, robots have become an increasing part of our lives. Companies looking to automate more and more and enable more of their activities that require physical human labor are now turning to robots to help or completely replace humans with many tasks. Additionally, robotics companies are also building robots for the consumer market. As robots are increasingly used in professional and personal environments, where are we in the current state of robotics and where the robotics industry is heading?
Many forward-thinking companies are using robotics
More and more companies are turning to robotics to help them with many human-centric tasks. These robots are either there to augment their human counterparts or to replace them completely in certain tasks. Physical robots are in high demand in many industries, especially for performing tasks often referred to as the four ‘D’s: dirty, dangerous, expensive (or expensive), and boring (or demeaning). These robots operate every day in manufacturing, warehouses, healthcare, and other situations to perform tasks that would otherwise be performed by humans with not always positive results.
Stanley Black & Decker is well known for their innovative tools for construction and construction, but you might not know that the company also has a forward-looking innovation lab that focuses on other areas of development. The company is mainly known for such things as knives, drill bits, tape measures, and other hardware and tools. However, over the past few years, the company has focused on how it can use AI to improve its software, what types of products it develops for its customers, and how to make those things smarter and better. effective.
For Stanley Black & Decker, AI, robots and other development technologies are increasingly used and integrated into various design, manufacturing and related functions of the company. Just like in other industries, the company finds that these robots are not replacing jobs, but helping workers use their time more wisely. By letting robots do some of the menial work, human workers are free to perform higher-level tasks and add value to the products they create.
For forward-thinking organizations like Stanley Black & Decker, the use of robotics can be seen as a strategic advantage. By identifying the opportunities where robotics can be applied, operational efficiency, benefits and return on investment will be achieved. The robots will help reduce costs, improve safety and improve operations overall. The adoption of robotics and disruptive technologies will help improve and improve manufacturing as well as change the way the business designs and validates. From Stanley Black & Decker’s perspective, at least, robotics is at the heart of their long-term strategy, and we’ll see more robotics in our day-to-day lives.
While many focus on above ground robots, some businesses, organizations, and nonprofits are bringing robots to the seas. Robots serving the environment (CSR) is developing robots that can operate in water to help safely capture invasive species. By bringing augmented intelligence systems and robotics into harsh environments, such as underwater, we can acquire abilities that would otherwise be too dangerous for humans.
In one particular application, RSE focuses on the challenge of the invasive lionfish. The lionfish is known to be a very invasive fish that quickly eats young reef fish and has no natural predators in waters where they are not native. While divers can easily kill these invasive fish with harpoon guns within 100 feet of depth, RSE wanted to see if robotic solutions that could work underwater would be a better solution. Creating scalable and affordable robots is a key driver for CSR. The company has had a few iterations of its underwater robots already, iterating and improving with each new robot. Right now, the lionfish catching process is very human-centric, with the humans above the water controlling and operating the robot. However, future versions are expected to automatically identify lionfish in order to limit the need for human interaction.
RSE’s mission is to apply robotic technology to solve large-scale environmental challenges and to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through these efforts. While the underwater robot is their first robot in deployment, RSE is also focused on developing robots to solve today’s environmental problems and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. For them, the future looks bright and by involving people in this process and making them aware of environmental issues, they hope to inspire the next generation. From a CSR perspective, we’ll see robotics applied more and more to more harsh environments and deliver more value where humans simply aren’t able or equipped to go. If we can put rovers on Mars, then we can put robots to work under the sea.
Enter the golden age of robotics
In recent decades, robots and autonomous machines have entered our homes. The idea of Rosie from the TV show Jetsons, a robot who can talk, cook, clean and interact with humans is still not realized. However, robots and autonomous machines capable of performing certain narrow tasks are a reality. We now have vacuums that can navigate rooms, lawn mowers that can automatically navigate your yard and mow your lawn, cars that get closer and closer to fully autonomous driving, and other machines that can perform. certain functions.
Colin Angle, President, CEO and Founder of iRobot believes we are on the cusp of the golden age of robotics. To enter this golden age and move from automation to truly intelligent robots and machines, three steps must be taken. First, robots need to become more responsive. Instead of robots being programmed to simply perform a task, robots must actually understand their surroundings and react accordingly. Second, robots need to be more collaborative. To do this, we need to expand the knowledge and understanding of the robot beyond its immediate environment. It must also collaborate with people and other robots. Although we already have collaborative robots, the vast majority of robots would not be considered to fall into this category. Third, for robots to be truly intelligent, they must act as part of a larger system. For example, when robots can understand their surroundings and surroundings, they can interact and work with other robots and devices in your home to create a true ecosystem rather than a collection of disparate systems.
As many companies increasingly build and adopt robotics in various parts of their workflows, and consumers have welcomed robots into their homes to help them with various tasks and tasks, the need for intelligent robots continues. Building bots can be a very expensive business, and unfortunately some robotics companies could not stay in business. However, there is still a lot of innovation to be made and the robotics industry is not going away anytime soon. Many businesses and nonprofits are finding more and more value in integrating robots into their various operations. As the return on investment continues to be shown, companies will continue to invest in robots. At some point, hopefully in the near future, smart robots will become mainstream and a real robotics revolution will emerge.