Industries Where Robots Are Making a Difference

Industries Where Robots Are Making a Difference

Robots are slowly taking over the world. Okay, so maybe they aren’t taking over, but they are making an impact in many industries and adding significantly to what businesses can accomplish. From Zappos, which ships 1.2 million items globally with an army of robots to fulfill orders, to Amazon Robotics and their 20k-square-foot warehouse, robots are making their way into many industries. 

This article covers some industries where robots are making a positive difference. Let’s get started!

Manufacturing

Manufacturing was the first major industry where robots made a difference. Machines are used in this field to lift heavy objects faster and without fatigue. Since they can be programmed, robots can handle dangerous materials and situations with ease and improve safety standards.

According to a report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), there were close to 2.7 million industrial robots in use in 2020. This number is expected to increase further as the manufacturing sector embraces automation.

Even more importantly, robots allow factories to move production back in-house — especially if they're partnered with 3D-printing technology — because they make it more cost-efficient to do so. Manufacturers can automate their operations while saving money on labor costs and shipping materials around the world.

Oil Industry

From drilling to refining, robots are reshaping the oil and gas industry. This industry is leveraging three different types of robotic technology. The first is the Internet of Things, which is used to automate repetitive tasks and cut down on labor costs with connected devices. For example, sensors are now placed in pipelines that detect leaks. This allows companies to conduct repairs more quickly before the problem gets out of hand.  Companies are also leveraging robotics for sludge removal from industrial tanks.

The second is artificial intelligence, which collects important data and takes over some of the decision-making processes for humans. Lastly, robots with remote controls can be used in dangerous situations, such as cleaning storage tanks and removing workers from hazardous environments.

Robots have also made their way into offshore oil drilling. Shell and Ocean Infinity have teamed up to deploy autonomous surface vessels for exploration and recently put a remotely operated robotic underwater drone with cameras and sensors into field trials.

Healthcare

Healthcare is yet another industry where robots are making a difference. In a field where the consequences are dire, having robots around to handle mundane tasks can mean the difference between life and death.

For instance, robots are being used to deliver prescriptions and necessities to patients with compromised immune systems or extremely contagious illnesses like the Ebola virus. This industry is also leveraging robotic technology with prosthetics. Since robots can be controlled remotely, there is a possibility that we might not need physicians to conduct regular checkups. The doctor could remotely control a robot to perform a checkup.

Robotic surgeries are also making a difference, often outperforming human surgeons in several key metrics. A study by medical schools in Canada found that robotic surgeries took less time to complete and had fewer complications. Other studies have shown they lead to better blood loss control, lower infection rates, and shorter hospital stays.

Food and Agriculture

Food and agriculture are the industries most ripe for disruption, due in large part to the current labor shortage. As the population ages, skilled and manual labor opportunities have dwindled. Robots are also changing the food industry because they can reduce human-to-human contact and cut costs for employers. 

Some examples of robots’ impact on agriculture include:

  • Automated greenhouses: These greenhouses leverage the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to monitor and control climate, watering, and light sensors for optimal growing conditions.
  • Seeding and harvesting: For fields, these processes are fully automated using GPS technology.
  • Drones: Drones are leveraged for fertilization and crop surveillance to make the process much faster than it was before.
  • Packaging and labeling: Packaging and labeling: Pick and place packaging robot are also leveraged for packaging and labeling to reduce waste.
  • Food service: Robots are being used in the food service industry to reduce human-to-human contact and expand their reach beyond just a select few cities by building delivery robots that can operate in a larger radius.

Robots may not be able to cook and serve food yet (mostly), but the rise of artificial intelligence has made it possible for robots to recognize when food is cooked or when a table is cleared. This technology could soon improve efficiency in food services, allowing restaurants to give customers more personalized experiences 

Military and Defense

The military is one of the biggest investors in robots, and for good reason. Drones are used for recon and resupply without having to risk the lives of soldiers. 

The U.S. military uses drones to spy on enemy targets and diffuse bombs. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing autonomous drones that can fly in formation and communicate with one another to perform missions without human control.

In addition, artificial intelligence is used for face recognition and license plate scanning to solve crimes. AI makes it easier to scan through hours of security tape to identify suspects or track down stolen cars.

Robots Are Here To Stay

Robots have been used in a variety of ways in many different industries, and it’s all thanks to the latest technology boom. The future looks bright for the use of robots, and it’s no longer science fiction — we have real-world applications that are making an impact on our lives.



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