If one purpose of a robot is to remove the burden of dangerous, difficult, time-consuming, or tedious tasks from humans, then the robotics industry has been failing a large part of the consumer market.
No one has yet come up with a reliable, inexpensive device willing to do the dishes or the laundry. However, the availability of robotic lawn-mowing equipment continues to increase, with steady improvements in technology and price. Despite advances, however, the labor-saving technology homeowners still turn to most often is a relatively old-fashioned solution: a spottily reliable teenage boy. But Robotics Business Review expects that to change over the next decade, as robotic lawn mowers better address navigation and obstacle-avoidance issues, as well as safety concerns.
A Massive Consumer Market
Many people enjoy tending their own lawns, and take pride in the results. Of the 115 million households in the United States, 70 percent did some work in the yard or garden themselves during 2009, rather than hiring a landscape service or skipping it all together, according to a widely respected annual survey released by the National Gardening Association.
That 70 percent—61 million households—spent an average of $444 on lawn and garden care during 2008, for a total of $36 billion. Three-quarters of them planned to spend the same or more during 2009, according to the report, which was released in July 2009 and focused on spending the previous year.