There was a 10 percent global increase in industrial robot usage to over 3 million units in operation in 2020, caused by the pandemic.
At the same time, there was an overall 12 percent market increase for service robots to $6.7 billion with the market for cleaning robots increased by 92 percent.
Since the pandemic is still there as well as there are new global factors, such as the war in Ukraine, we wonder if these trends will continue in 2022.
Here’s a roundup of the biggest robotics trends in 2022.
1. Investors will pour more money into robotics companies
Investors will continue to fund established robotics companies and startups in 2022.
There’s no clear sign of which industries or specific innovations will receive the most money. But equity firms and venture capitalists are itching to capitalize on the latest and greatest robotics technology. And they’ll pour even more money into the industry on top of their regular investments considering recent events.
The pandemic caused and brought attention to issues with supply chains and labor shortages. Because of this, we can expect an increase in funding to fill that demand. The 2020 global industrial robotics market was at $14.61 billion, with expected increases to $15.6 billion by 2021 and $31.13 billion by 2028.
To fulfill these expectations, some significant investments in the industry have to be made.
2. Ease of use becomes a priority
The World Robotics Report states that during the year 2020, there were more robots produced in Asia but fewer in Europe and the US. The global pandemic was the main reason for the production decrease compared to 2019.
With the pandemic subsiding, we expect production to pick up in 2022. This creates pressure for workers to quickly learn and acquire the latest technology.
That’s why there’s a new trend towards simplicity in programming and user interface in robotics. Now workers require hardware and software solutions that lower the learning curve and time for implementation. This trend falls in alignment with the creation of low-cost robotics models.
3. Data collection through Autonomous Mobile Robots will remain
Ecommerce sales increased by 14.2 percent from 2020 to 2021. And with automation increases and labor shortages even before the pandemic, the usage of AMRs will rise dramatically in the coming year. And there is a projected annual growth rate of 23.7 percent per year from 2021 to 2028.
With all the AMRs around, we can expect both the e-commerce and robotics worlds to work more towards a common goal of collecting data. Expect more IoT technology to integrate with AMRs for data collection that will boost sales and add value to the AMR market.
4. More focus on robotics network security
Since the use of IoT and robotics in daily life for regular people, commercial, and industrial sectors increased, security has become a top priority.
During the war in Ukraine, Russia has repeatedly attacked the Ukrainian banking system, communications, and governmental websites. There was also a threat of attack on the nuclear power plants.
If an industrial robot gets hacked, attacks like this may result in property damage or even worse-case scenarios such as nuclear disaster. Threats like this have governments and corporations question if traditional liability principles adequately address risks coming from the new technology.
Regular users are in danger too. There are multiple cyber threats to watch out for. One of the ways to protect your personal information is to download a VPN like Surfshark, which hides your sensitive data from cybercriminals.
5. Wider use of cobots and other multi-purpose robots
Amazon was one of the first companies that integrated multi-purpose robots – known as cobots – to work with their fulfillment team. Since their implementation in 2017, the company saw a 20 percent productivity increase in their warehouses with comparable savings on the investment.
The National Retail Federation expects a 6 to 8 percent growth in sales in 2022, which may result in increased robotics use.
6. Moving towards robot interoperability
While humans are still learning to collaborate with robots, the focus in 2022 will shift to robot interoperability.
Since robotics companies rarely source code from a single developer, many industries experience issues having different robots to work together. This is an issue for warehouses, factories, and logistic centers worldwide, and the solution is needed more than ever.
The robotics industry tries to expand open code architecture and encourage standard-setting use. There is a clear need for one universal fleet management system, and the MassRobotics Mobile Robot Interoperability Standard introduced last fall is a good start.
7. Delivery robots boom
A recent press release on the Polaris Market Research claimed that the Autonomous Delivery Robots Market will reach over $2 billion by 2029, from over 200 million in 2021. This equals a 34.9 percent compound annual growth rate.
The idea of robots delivering a package to customers’ front door seemed futuristic before coronavirus-related lockdowns. Yet, even after being back to normality, there is still a surge in demand for delivery robots.
At the same time, retailers, delivery companies, and the food and beverage industry aim to reduce their last-mile delivery costs. With Amazon acting as a trendsetter with their autonomous delivery robot Scout, expect other companies to follow suit.
8. Massive growth and investment
These trends are a small outline of what to expect from the robotics industry in 2022. With massive growth and investment in the industry, we never know what’s just around the corner.
But there are clear signs that investments in robotics will pick up over the next ten years and that standardized industry codes will become the norm.