US trade boss warns of oversupply of bad robots because of Chinese government subsidies

 

China’s appetite for industrial robots is big and growing. Already the largest buyer of the machines, domestic companies are being encouraged by the Chinese government to build more robots locally, not just import them from overseas. 

Such high-powered encouragement has led to the establishment of numerous robot manufacturers in the country, some of which take advantage of government subsidies.

This has prompted criticism from US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross (main picture), who grumbled about a range of issues, but singled out China’s burgeoning robotics industry, which he apparently believes is built mainly on government subsidies.  Continue reading US trade boss warns of oversupply of bad robots because of Chinese government subsidies

Spanish farm produce supplier reduces human workers from 500 to 100 using robots

 

Spanish farm produce supplier El Dulze has reduced its human workforce from 500 down to just 100 with the use of robots, according to a report on FruitNet.com

The company is said to be using Fanuc robots – LR Mate 200iB models – which use vision systems to even out the production line so the vegetables are not bunched up too close together for packing.

The robots also appear to be picking heads of lettuce and placing them in containers, or plastic packaging.  Continue reading Spanish farm produce supplier reduces human workers from 500 to 100 using robots

Opinion: How assistive robots will transform the workplace and elderly care

By Dr Antonio Espingardeiro, member of the IEEE

Robots can bring significant benefits to the workplace, positively impacting productivity, efficiency and quality.

There are challenges to realising these benefits – not least the complex subject of the degree and quality of human interaction that we want or need robots to deliver.

However, robotics offers tremendous scope for helping humanity, so the field will continue to develop the advanced technologies that make it possible.  Continue reading Opinion: How assistive robots will transform the workplace and elderly care

Nidec to launch factory automation robots

Nidec is to start selling factory automation and robotics systems some time this year, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review

Japanese company Nidec already has a strong presence in the industrial space, and is a huge supplier of motors.

In the company’s own words, it specialises in and handles motor application products based on “everything that spins and moves”, and says its business is “centred on motors”.  Continue reading Nidec to launch factory automation robots

Technically speaking, South Korea just introduced world’s first ‘robot tax’

It was kind of funny when the idea of asking robots to pay their fair share of taxes was first floated, but it seems some are taking it seriously. 

Bill Gates was one of the first to talk about it, but not many probably took him all that seriously.

But then, not many people take the universal basic income idea seriously either, but some countries have already introduced it.  Continue reading Technically speaking, South Korea just introduced world’s first ‘robot tax’

Kawasaki gloating over appearance of its robots in latest Transformers film

 

Kawasaki is clearly very pleased with the appearance of not one but two of its industrial robots in the new Hollywood blockbuster film, Transformers 5: The Last Knight

The company has been crowing about its fame on its website.

The two Kawasaki RS010L robots make an appearance in the Transformers film.  Continue reading Kawasaki gloating over appearance of its robots in latest Transformers film

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

Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Kiva Systems was a company that built a mobile robot for logistics operations, mainly for use in warehouses. It was a basically a small platform on wheels, and proved popular throughout the industry.

But then it got bought out by Amazon, which initially said it would still sell it to the rest of the logistics industry but actually didn’t. Instead it rebranded Kiva as Amazon Robotics and turned it into a business unit of its own.

The online retail giant now has one of the largest number of robots in operation of any company in the world.

But two former executives at Kiva Systems – Jerome Dubois and Rylan Hamilton – have now launched a new company and a range of new logistics automation solutions.  Continue reading Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Toshiba launches three new industrial robots aimed at automated picking applications

Toshiba Machine has launched three new industrial robots.

The three new models are part of the company’s TVM series of vertically articulated robots, and all have “high cost performance and reliability”, says Toshiba.

The TVM series is designed primarily for use in transfer and assembly processes in the automobile components industry and enables high productivity in assembly and transfer by combining with a wide array of system installation support tools.  Continue reading Toshiba launches three new industrial robots aimed at automated picking applications

Google grants almost $1 million to press agency developing robot journalists

The writer of this article is human, but soon you may be reading articles on this website which are written by robots or automation software. 

And who knows, some of the articles you read online may already be written by robots. Over the course of a longer period of time, you’ve almost certainly read something written by automation software.

Companies such as Automated Insights have been supplying thousands of articles a month to a variety of clients for a couple of years.  Continue reading Google grants almost $1 million to press agency developing robot journalists

MIT reveals robot to inspect pipes, while Stanford shows ‘vine-like growing robot’

Universities are doing a lot of interesting work in the area of robotics, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford are two of the most active in the field. 

Both universities showed similar robots this week, MIT’s being a bottle-shaped device which checks pipes and Stanford’s one a machine which is said to grow like a vine.

According to DigitalTrends.com, MIT’s PipeGuard team recently won $10,000 in the university’s competition and swims through pipes to detect any problems.

The YouTube video for the device (above) describes as a “leak detection robot for city water distribution systems”.

Stanford, which also made a video (below) of its strange plant- or worm-like organic robot, if it can be called that, said its invention “could be useful in search and rescue and medical applications”.

Commercial customers for the robots are probably already lined up and perhaps the two teams could spin out into startup companies.

Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

Interview with Rick Weidinger, CEO of Robotic Vision Technologies

A human eye transmits data to the brain at a rate of approximately 10 million bits a second, which is about the equivalent of the capacity of some Ethernet connections. 

This was the finding of a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and while that may be debatable, and perhaps doesn’t tell the whole story of the complexity of the human eye, it’s probably a widely accepted idea that our eyes collect and transmit more data than do our other “sensors”, if they can be called that – the ones for sound, touch, smell and taste – which, with sight, make up our five human senses.

Robots, of course, only have senses because their makers want to integrate sensors into them.  Continue reading Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

Global agriculture robots market driven by ‘high population growth and food shortages’

The global market for agricultural robots is forecast to exceed $5 billion by 2024, according to a report. 

The Global Agriculture Robots Market Report, published by Variant Market Research, predicts the global market will reach $5,214 million by 2024 from $968 million in 2016 – growing at an annual rate of 23.4 per cent from 2016 to 2024.

By geography, Asia Pacific and rest of the world are expected to grow at 24.7 per cent and 24.1 per cent respectively, during the forecast period.  Continue reading Global agriculture robots market driven by ‘high population growth and food shortages’

Brain Corp raises $114 million to develop self-driving technology for robots

Brain Corp, an artificial intelligence company specializing in the development of self-driving technology for robots, has raised $114 million in a Series C funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Brain has developed AI and self-driving technology to enable robots to perceive their environment, learn to control their motion, and navigate using visual cues and landmarks while avoiding people and obstacles.

The investment will be used to further develop AI technology and create brains for multiple types of commercial and consumer robots.  Continue reading Brain Corp raises $114 million to develop self-driving technology for robots

Interest and fascination grows about robots’ artistic talents

Captives #B04 from Quayola on Vimeo.

Industrial robots which are normally seen in factories making cars or some other heavy industrial object are increasingly shown as drawing or painting like artists. 

These days, with ever-more powerful artificial intelligence software driving the robots, it’s difficult to say if there’s anything left that robots cannot do.

The big question is probably, “Is there anything that humans can do that robots cannot?”

Continue reading Interest and fascination grows about robots’ artistic talents