Tactile sensing technologies allow collaborative robots to ‘feel’ many classes of objects – hard, soft, rigid, flexible, etc. As EU Automation’s Claudia Jarrett notes, this capability allows cobots to perform increasingly complex tasks while working in a collaborative manner with humans.
Robot behaviors are often built as computational graphs, with data flowing from sensors to compute technologies, all the way down to actuators and back. To obtain additional performance, robotics compute platforms must map these graph-like structures efficiently to CPUs, but also to specialized hardware including FPGAs and GPUs.
CNC shops, and their clients, both benefit from the many advantages accrued by incorporating robots into various CNC manufacturing and production processes.
The process of creating optimized, hardware specific, compute architectures can be time consuming and complex. The ROS 2 Hardware Acceleration Working Group (HAWG) is working to simplify hardware acceleration engineering tasks by creating acceleration kernels based on open standards.
While backflipping humanoid robots are exciting to watch, there is a far more pragmatic reality, one where intelligent machines are integrated into the workforce to function alongside humans, performing repetitive, risk-prone tasks, and gathering business critical data while doing so.
Developing SLAM systems is resource intensive, technically challenging, and expensive. In addition, the lack of common and shareable approaches for understanding the operational environment shared by robotics systems and humans has resulted in a multitude of system specific, spatial intelligence silos. There has to be a better way.
It is advanced software, working in conjunction with hardware systems, that has driven the commercial drone sector to new heights. Similarly, software is the key capabilities enabler for other types of robotics systems going forward, including mobile robots.
The food delivery sector faces serious supply chain challenges that could reduce consumer adoption and limit growth. A cloud kitchen execution architecture, supported by high levels of robotic automation, can address the problem while providing consumers with greater choice and value, and entrepreneurs with numerous business opportunities.
A critical challenge for manufacturers is the ongoing skills gap for programming, integrating and operating the robots and the capabilities operators possess. For manufacturers to become agile and autonomous, robots must be faster and easier to program and implement. Enter ‘no code’ programming.
The Parallel Structured Light approach for 3D sensing aims to fill a critical gap among 3D sensing solutions, enabling a whole new range of machine vision applications and tasks in the process.
Most industry experts agree that the technological capabilities for driverless tractors are there… and many farmers and technology providers believe it is more a matter of “when” than “if.”
Autonomous mobile robots, along with the first commercial autonomous mobile manipulation robots, can be used to automate many DC and warehouse tasks. They also enable whole news ways of executing warehouse operations, which in turn are increasing the resiliency and flexibility of supply chain workflows.
Robotics start-ups are releasing solutions designed to assist manufacturers address labor challenges, confront global competition and provide lasting business value. Examples include products and technologies that increase the ease and speed of robotics software development, as well as support sensor-driven autonomy and mobility.
When IoT technologies, robots and humans interoperate, advanced robotic capabilities are enabled, along with novel applications, and by extension, new business opportunities. Interoperability challenges remain, but solutions are available to overcome them.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) has found great success in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries, and robotics solutions are making AEC inroads. The two technologies can be synergistic, and when used together can deliver additional value to AECs.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to innovate, including utilizing workplace robots. From telepresence capabilities to UV disinfection, mobile robots empowered people and provided business value. But even as the infection fades, their use will continue and expand.
The next production revolution will be a boon for a global economy that is sputtering and experiencing lagging growth and investment. This new technology wave should lead to a virtuous cycle of increased investment, higher productivity, more spending, and more investment.
Anthony Levandowski, who pleaded guilty to one count of trade secret theft and was pardoned by Donald Trump, simultaneously built and undermined the autonomous vehicle sector. The long term impact is unclear.
A number of companies offer automated, robotic garages, although adoption, especially in the United States, has been limited thus far. That could change as cities become more populated, and greater emphasis is placed on increasing the efficiency and sustainability of transportation systems.
While third-party logistics (3PLs) companies have offered Fulfillment–as–a–Service (FaaS) for years, automation technology vendors are now beginning to provide FaaS solutions along with their more traditional technologies, products and services offerings.
To increase the adoption rate of robotics and automation technologies, US manufacturers, especially SMEs, must have training support in place and acted on, as well as take advantage of governmental workforce development programs. Only then will the business value of robotic automation overcome adoption reluctance due to cost.
Flexibility in manufacturing provides quantifiable value creation and cost savings, and a great way to introduce flexibility in factories is to allow humans and robots to work together in the same space. For many applications, limited fencing or guarding is desirable to ensure workcell safety and support more fluid human-robot interaction.
The capabilities spectrum for robotics systems has been expanded from fixed manipulators and teleoperated mobile robots to now include their intersection – mobile manipulation systems. To reach their full potential, however, mobile manipulation robots must be able to move, interact, see, think, and communicate.
The construction sector is huge, but famously stubborn in its adoption of new technology. That is changing as advances in construction automation continue apace… including the development of construction robotics solutions. Challenges remain, but they are being addressed.
Prior to the Covid pandemic, robotics deployments in retail environments were growing steadily, proving their efficacy, generating ‘value’ and delivering solid ROI in the process. Covid has acted as an accelerant, so much so that in 2021 robotics technologies will transform the retail sector.