A look into the future of robotics.
Where does the robotics industry stand today? Which technologies are attracting the most user interest? What does the future hold with respect to new innovations and applications? To get some answers, we asked leading experts from companies participating in DC Velocity's new Robotics & AutomationDX showcase. Here's what they had to say.
Q: How do you view the current state of the robotics industry?
Tim Criswell – Daifuku-Wynright: AI applications, especially in the area of 3D vision, have allowed engineers to solve complex data interpretation problems to provide robots with the real-time information they need to operate in the dynamic environment of distribution. Traditional approaches have required programmers to develop complex decision trees, which can work well for the normal operational flow but can be problematic when trying to account for every possible scenario and exception in an application.
Q: What kinds of growth and adoption rates do you anticipate for the industry over the next five years?
Tim Criswell – Daifuku-Wynright: With increasing demand for e-commerce and a shortage of available labor, operational costs continue to rise. With the continued refinement of complex applications and implementation of AI techniques, the costs of implementing more dynamic applications are coming down. This combination will drive the growth of applications such as piece-part bin picking or robotic truck unloading, which have limited implementations and have not experienced widespread adoption.
Q: Is a lights-out and sustainable robotic operation a realistic possibility with the existing technology?
Tim Criswell – Daifuku-Wynright: True "lights out" operation, where human intervention is never required, is not currently practical and will not be anytime soon. However, "touchless" operation, where humans only intervene for exceptions and errors, is achievable with existing, leading-edge technology.