Fast-growing sectors within robotics and automation

If we were to think of robotics and automation as one industry – which we at this website in fact do – we could argue that it’s one of the fastest-growing industries in the world right now.

Certainly if we were to include software automation systems – such as robotic process automation – it would probably be the biggest.

But Robotics and Automation News tends to concentrate on physical machines – such as robotic arms or autonomous vehicles – which can be seen in a typical manufacturing or logistics facility.

And we try and understand what other sectors are most closely related to robotics and automation – manufacturing and logistics being two obvious ones.

Continue reading Fast-growing sectors within robotics and automation

How robots and artificial intelligence will transform the mining industry

By Joao Piexe, FN Media Group’s Safehaven.com

Drones are sweeping over the global mining industry and for good reason.

The future of mining will increasingly rely on the use of drones and automated systems, slashing costs while helping mining companies find and dig up more gold, silver and other metals and minerals.

According to a 2015 survey of 190 mining companies around the world, about two thirds of them were aiming to integrate remote operations and monitoring centers into their operations.  Continue reading How robots and artificial intelligence will transform the mining industry

Natilus raises new funds to launch pilotless freight aircraft

Natilus, a manufacturer of large aircraft drones, has closed a second round of seed funding with investment from Starburst Ventures, Seraph Group, Gelt VC, Outpost Capital and Draper Associates.

The funds – the amount was not disclosed – will go toward what the company calls its “aggressive scaling strategy”, with the first Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight for its 30-foot prototype scheduled for late 2017, and a commercial market launch in 2020.

Just as the long-haul freight sector has made huge strides in efficiency gains and cost reduction due to technology innovation, Natilus says the $15.5 trillion global freight market is poised for disruption as it strives to offer customers more cost-effective delivery solutions beyond the decades-old vessels and aircraft which serve as its primary sources of transport.  Continue reading Natilus raises new funds to launch pilotless freight aircraft

Game of Drones: An epic infographic by RS Components

Drones are set to become a multi-billion dollar industry over the next few years, and with the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Google all developing UAV technology it seems the fight for the ‘drone crown’ is fully under way.

But what industries are already embracing drones and what stand out devices are they developing?

This infographic, produced by RS Components, provides a bird’s eye view of the drones sector.  Continue reading Game of Drones: An epic infographic by RS Components

Sintef develops drones and robotics technologies for unmanned surveillance and operation of salmon farms

 

A Norwegian technology research company called Sintef has been developing drones and other robotics technologies to help salmon and aquaculture farmers manage their operations. 

In one example, an underwater remotely operated underwater vehicle – often called an ROV – is being utilised to manage a farm which has 200,000 salmon fish.

Salmon and fish farming in general is a huge industry in Norway, which is said to be one of the largest – if not the largest – salmon suppliers in the world.  Continue reading Sintef develops drones and robotics technologies for unmanned surveillance and operation of salmon farms

Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

Mobile robotics in material handling and logistics will become a $75 billion market by 2027, according to a new report, which adds that it will be more than double by 2038. 

These staggering headline figures mask turbulent transformative change underneath: some technologies will rise and transform the fortunes of industries, fuelling growth rates far outpacing recent trends, whilst others will face with decay and obsolescence.

“We are at the beginning of the beginning of a transformative change, and the time to plan is now,” says the report by IDTechEx Research.  Continue reading Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

Amazon could assimilate Whole Foods workers into robots and drones in some sort of cyber-physical dystopian Borg-like nightmare

The Whole Foods Market in Boulder, Colorado, US. Reuters / Rick Wilking
The Whole Foods Market in Boulder, Colorado, US. Reuters / Rick Wilking

By Lisa Baertlein and Harriet McLeod, Reuters

The merger that shook food and retail stocks on Friday – Amazon’s proposed deal to buy Whole Foods Market – rattled some employees of the upscale grocery chain who expressed fears ranging from layoffs to the loss of their laid-back corporate culture.

The online retailer hopes the $13.7 billion acquisition helps it disrupt the grocery business and expand its real-world store footprint.

Carmen Clark, 37, a six-year employee at a store in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, said some workers worry that Amazon-led automation could lead to job cuts.  Continue reading Amazon could assimilate Whole Foods workers into robots and drones in some sort of cyber-physical dystopian Borg-like nightmare

The pros and cons of using drones in the real estate business

drone above house

By Tim Jennings, president, Custom Case Group

Are drones a necessity in the real estate business or are they an extra? 

The clearest and quickest way to answer that question is to present a few compelling pieces of information:

  • When the Federal Aviation Administration handed out its first 1,000 commercial drone operator exemptions a couple of years ago, 35 percent were to operators in real estate marketing.
  • The Multiple Listing Service has reported that properties featuring aerial images sell about 68 percent faster than do properties featuring only non-aerial photos.
  • According to the National Association of Realtors, 73 percent of homeowners said they’d be more likely to list with an agent who incorporates video in marketing their home.
  • In March 2016, Goldman Sachs released a report saying the global drone market is expected to grow to $20.6 billion in the next five years.
  • Many analysts are saying last summer’s FAA commercial drone ruling will result in a dramatic expansion of drone use in the real estate industry this year.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The bottom line is: If you haven’t incorporated drones in your operations yet, it’s time to get the process started.  Continue reading The pros and cons of using drones in the real estate business

UPS completes testing of drone delivery system developed by Workhorse

UPS says it has successfully tested a drone that launches from the top of a UPS package car, autonomously delivers a package to a home and then returns to the vehicle while the delivery driver continues along the route to make a separate delivery.

UPS conducted the test on Monday in Tampa, Florida with Workhorse Group, an Ohio-based battery-electric truck and drone developer. Workhorse built the drone and the electric UPS package car used in the test.

Mark Wallace, senior vice-president of global engineering and sustainability at UPS, says: “This test is different than anything we’ve done with drones so far. It has implications for future deliveries, especially in rural locations where our package cars often have to travel kilometres to make a single delivery.

“Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are kilometres apart by road. Sending a drone from a package car to make just one of those deliveries can reduce costly kilometres driven. This is a big step toward bolstering efficiency in our network and reducing our emissions at the same time.” Continue reading UPS completes testing of drone delivery system developed by Workhorse

Growing pains at ADL as it launches ‘industry’s smallest’ Intel-based embedded PC

adl embedded systems

Exclusive interview with JC Ramirez, director of engineering, ADL Embedded Solutions

If there’s one problem most companies would be happy to have is the one related to having too many orders to deal with. 

This is the situation ADL Embedded Solutions finds itself in, according to JC Ramirez, the company’s director of engineering and product manager.

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Ramirez says the company is experiencing “serious growing pains”, especially in Germany, where there is “too much work” going on.

ADL has generally been highly regarded and known as a “board company”, specialising in supplying technology for military and defence applications.

But the company has been going higher, into the upper levels of integration with its products in the past few years.  Continue reading Growing pains at ADL as it launches ‘industry’s smallest’ Intel-based embedded PC

Bosch launches ‘smallest, high performance’ barometric pressure sensor

Bosch BMP380 sensor
The Bosch BMP380 sensor measures 2 by 2 by 0.75 mm

Bosch Sensortec has launched what it says is the company’s smallest and best performing barometric pressure sensor, with a compact size of 2.0 x 2.0 x 0.75 mm.

The BMP380 sensor is aimed at the growing markets of gaming, sports and health management, as well as indoor and outdoor navigation.

By measuring barometric pressure, the sensor enables drones, smartphones, tablets, wearables and other mobile devices to accurately determine altitude changes, in both indoor and outdoor environments.  Continue reading Bosch launches ‘smallest, high performance’ barometric pressure sensor

Trust Automation adds ‘revolutionary capture technology’ to robotic aircraft

zipline-robotic-aircraft

Trust Automation says it has provided critical engineering support in the development of the recovery system for Zipline International’s medical delivery drones.

Trust Automation is a provider of standard and custom motors and controls as well as support system solutions.

Trust Automation says it was instrumental in taking a concept provided by Zipline from drawing board design to operational reality. Continue reading Trust Automation adds ‘revolutionary capture technology’ to robotic aircraft

Why it makes sense to insure your drone

agriculture drone

It’s sensible to insure your drones, says Insure4Drones.co.uk

It may once have been the preserve of the military, but drone technology is now an important tool for businesses throughout the UK. Companies in many different sectors are increasingly using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to give them a commercial edge.

Who uses drones for commercial use?

Media agencies, for instance, are using drones to produce dynamic advertising footage, or to support news reporting, along with photographic agencies, which employ drones to provide stunning panoramic shots and pictures from previously inaccessible places.  Continue reading Why it makes sense to insure your drone

Logistics automation: Mercedes looking to capitalise on growing e-commerce market

mercedes-vision-van-logistics

Mercedes has revealed a futuristic van which it says will feature at the centre of an autonomous, or at least, highly automated delivery system. 

The “Vision Van”, which apart from its shape looks nothing like your usual van, is equipped with drones which integrate into the system through the internet of things.

Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz vans, says: “The Vision Van embodies the intelligent, clean and fully connected van of tomorrow – with electric powertrain, fully automatic cargo space, integrated delivery drones and innovative communication features.”  Continue reading Logistics automation: Mercedes looking to capitalise on growing e-commerce market

Skies full of drones bring many new risks, Allianz warns

drones
Picture via ecnmag.com

Insurance and financial services giant Allianz is warning that exponential growth in the number of drones in the sky carries a wide range of risks 

Whether used commercially for industrial inspections, aerial photography, border patrol, emergency deliveries and crop surveys or recreationally by millions, drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have the potential to become a multi-billion dollar business and deliver problem-solving technologies across numerous industries.

However, more drones in the skies also raise a number of new safety concerns, ranging from collisions and crashes to cyber-attacks and terrorism.

To ensure safe UAS operations, systematic registration of unmanned aircraft and robust education and training of operators is necessary, according to a new report from aviation insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS): Rise of the Drones: Managing the Unique Risks Associated with Unmanned Aircraft SystemsContinue reading Skies full of drones bring many new risks, Allianz warns