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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.