Automation/Robots - Top Industries
With advancements in technology, many jobs typically performed by humans are being replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) and robots. Industries that have been most successful when it comes to automation/robots in the workforce include agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and packaging and shipping.
- Drones and robots are being used in agricultural to assist human workers and make tasks that were previously difficult or tedious much more efficient.
- The need to increase food production to meet rising food demands has led to successful adoption of automation/robots in the workforce in agriculture. Agriculture demands farmers perform repetitious tasks, such as weeding, harvesting, or spraying pesticide, entirely by hand.
- Traditional farming methods are unable to keep up with modern demand for crops and animal products and hence, the choice of robotic technology.
- Examples of types of robots used in the agriculture industry include automated harvesting systems, robots in nurseries, agricultural robot platforms, and robots for weed control.
- Common robots in these categories include Iron-Ox Lettuce Robot, MIT Robot Gardener, Agrobot SW6010, and Cucumber Harvester.
- For instance, the Potting Robot developed by HETO Agrotechnics moves large amounts of potted plants from one place in a nursery to another.
- Robotic and Al technology have successfully taken over the transportation industry in the form of fully autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars.
- Self-driving vehicles also extend to air crafts. In 2017, the U.S. military and its Defense Advanced Research Agency had announced the successful simulated flight and landing of a Boeing 737 by an AI robot co-pilot named ALIAS.
- The success of robotics/automation in the transportation industry is largely due to the quest to reduce energy costs, decrease the risks of accidents, and alleviate traffic congestion. It is anticipated that driverless cars will save the U.S. $1.3 trillion annually by 2035 to 2050, for a global yearly saving of $5.6 trillion.
- Equally, great adoption of automation in transportation is motivated by the conviction that self-driving cars will help improve transportation by reducing the risks of accidents, ease traffic congestion, and lower energy costs.
- Examples of types of robots and automation systems in the transportation industry include robotic buses, Jetson-style drones, tax drones, and unpiloted planes.
- The construction industry has been successful when it comes to automation /robots in its workforce. According to QY Research, the global market for construction robots was $200m (£155m) in 2017, and it is set to double to $420 million (£326m) by 2025.
- Shimizu Corporation is an example of a construction company that has embraced automation/robots in its workforce. Since 2015 the company has placed 20 billion yen ($180.7m) into the development of construction robots like Robo-Welder and Robo-Buddy, which inserts hanger bolts and installs ceiling boards.
- The success in the adoption of automation/robotics in the workforce in the construction industry is largely due to labor shortages. For instance, continued labor shortages led Japanese construction company Shimizu to invest in robots.
- Examples of types of robots used in the construction industry include drones, forklift robots, roadwork robots, bricklaying robots, demotion robots, exoskeletons, and welding robots.
- Manufacturing is one field that robots have probably managed to penetrate deeply. Nearly 60% of manufacturers are using some robotics technology to make the manufacturing process more efficient.
- It is one of the first industries to use AI robots to assemble products and package them for shipment.
- In the manufacturing industry, robots are used to assemble more complicated items, including electronics, cars, and home appliances.
- In highly-advanced factories, like Tesla’s Gigafactory, autonomous indoor vehicles deliver goods from workstation to workstation without human assistance.
- With the help of technology like Robotic Processing Automation, some robots can act as an extra worker in the manufacturing chain, double-checking capacitors or auto-filling invoices.
- The manufacturing industry has succeeded in its quest to incorporate robots/ automation in its workforce because robots are scalable. Manufacturers can use robots in high production, high volume environments, and can also scale down to be used in growing enterprises.
- Modern robots can be used in low- to medium-volume manufacturing environments because of recent advancements that allow for their quick programming and setting up. Mobile bases allow them to be used in multiple areas of manufacturing facilities.
- Examples of types of robots in the manufacturing industry based on configuration include articulated robots, Cartesian robots, SCARA robots, delta robots, polar robots, and cylindrical robots.
Packaging and Shipping
- Packaging and shipping industries have incorporated robots for some time to make distribution more effective.
- Amazon is at the forefront of automation when it comes to shipping.
- In 2014, Amazon began rolling out robots to its warehouses, using machines developed by Kiva Systems. At the moment, Amazon has over 100,000 robots in its warehouses globally.
- Cheaper, more capable, and more flexible technologies have accelerated the growth of fully automated packaging and shipping systems and facilities. The success in automation has also been influenced by the high focus on promoting flexibility, accuracy, and consistency through technologically-provided capabilities in packaging and shipping activities.
- Examples of types of robots and automation systems used in the packaging and shipping industries include Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS), Goods-to-Person technology (G2P), Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), Automated Guided Carts (AGCs), and Articulated Robotic Arms.
The research team started by consulting technological and industrial reports as well as databases like Industrial Robotics Association to find information about industries that have successfully embraced automation/robots in their workforce. The team further combed through trusted websites, articles, and blogs on the reasons why the identified industries have succeeded in using robots/automation and the types of robots they are using. From these resources, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and packaging and shipping are the top industries that have been most successful when it comes to automation/robots in the workforce.