Industry Experts Provide More Robotics Predictions for 2020
December 23, 2019      

Once again, our first predictions roundup of what people can expect in robotics and automation 2020 was so popular, that more industry leaders chimed in with their own thoughts on the new year and decade.

From booming markets to expectations in new fields and applications, here are the latest rounds of predictions from experts.

We are also including some links to larger trend reports – companies made so many predictions that we did not want to put them here, but rather allow you to download them on your own. These include:

  • Deloitte TMT predictions 2020, which includes a prediction that more than half of the robots sold in 2020 will be professional service robots, generating $16 billion in revenue. The firm believes professional service robots will pass industrial robots in terms of units in 2020 and revenue in 2021.
  • ABI Research’s “54 Technology Trends to Watch in 2020”, which includes several predictions around robotics, including “Legacy industrial vendors will see diminished relevance as mobility becomes the driver for growth in robotics.”

Here are some of the additional predictions that we received recently:

MORE ACQUISITIONS, PARTNERSHIPS

Tom Galluzzo, CTO, IAM Robotics

Tom Galluzzo, IAM Robotics

“In 2020 we’re likely to see another big acquisition or major partnership between a logistics robotics company and a large enterprise retailer, or e-commerce company. The market for these robots is still growing strong because the need for labor isn’t slowing down.”

 

RETAIL ROBOTS SET FOR BIG GROWTH

Rian Whitton, Senior Analyst, ABI Research

Rian Whitton, ABI Research

“Brick-and-mortar retail could well be the prime testing ground for the next generation of robots. There are already thousands of autonomous vehicles used to clean floors, as represented by Brain Corp. Another big demand is increasing for data collection and processing of out-of-stock information, which represents a $ 1trillion-dollar loss for retailers globally. Pensa Systems, Bossa Nova and Simbe are deploying inventory tracking robots across hundreds of sites. In 2020, there will be over 10,000 mobile robots deployed in retail stores.”


Brad Bogolea, CEO and co-founder, Simbe Robotics

Brad Bogolea Simbe Robotics RFID Scanning article

Brad Bogolea, Simbe Robotics CEO and co-founder

“Over the last decade or so, we’ve seen an increased flurry of robots come to market, spanning from home cleaning to industrial robots – and where we’ve seen the most widespread, consistent expansion is in the retail industry. The reason for this is the Amazon effect, and consumers’ rising expectations about service, product availability, and demands for convenience are forcing this change. In 2020, we’ll see retailers continue to deploy robotics on a massive scale and steadily prioritize data and efficiency-focused solutions, like inventory checking and warehouse automation solutions, to meet the evolving needs of their customers.”

 

BIG YEAR FOR MANUFACTURING, WAREHOUSING

Anis Uzzaman, CEO of Pegasus Tech Ventures

Anis Uzzaman, Pegasus Ventures

“Robotics will have a breakout moment in the manufacturing space as AI software companies, such as Vicarious, Osaro, and Kindred.ai, will pioneer the industrial motion planning AI technology and enable robots to automate much of the production in factories. Within the next six years, the global marketplace for robotics will almost triple, accelerating from $98 billion in 2018 to surpass $275 billion by 2025, according to GlobalData.”


Cole Parker, director of U.S. sales, Caja Systems

Cole Parker, Caja Systems

“With opportunities for warehouse automation growing steadily, thanks to continuous technology innovation and attractive ROI, we expect to see significant uptake of robotics solutions from existing manual-picking warehouse operators. Advanced goods-to-person automation systems can now be implemented quickly and easily within existing infrastructure and without the need to redo flooring, shelves, or inventory layouts. These advantages, combined with powerful and open cloud-based control systems, will become more compelling as a means to drive productivity and profitability.”

 

MACHINE LEARNING AS A COMMODITY

Matt Wielbut, CTO and co-founder, Openly

Matt Wielbut, Openly.

“The biggest changes in 2020 will come through the continued commoditization and platformization of machine learning/artificial intelligence. By offering turnkey ML solutions that are simple to integrate into existing systems, adoption will increase dramatically, especially in more traditional industries. In the same way that the shift to the cloud freed developers to focus on their respective product or service, and less on infrastructure, ML commoditization will make it easier for more companies to bring ML in as another building block to enhance parts of their core product, improve research and development, or identify inefficiencies in their operations.”

 

DRONES GET SMARTER, MORE AUTOMATED

Ilkka Hiidenheimo, CEO, Sharper Shape

Ilkka Hiidenheimo, Sharper Shape

“While the drone industry in general will grow in 2020, the technology will also continue to evolve with more capabilities becoming available through drone automation. Companies will be able to leverage advanced AI and ML capabilities in their technology that will help generate more accurate results from utility inspections conducted by drones. On top of that, updated drone batteries and FAA regulation will allow for more drone use. As for hardware, the sensor market is experiencing a shift in sensors becoming cheaper and lighter while still retaining high power. These changes are sure to lead to higher fidelity data, more accurate results and actionable insights.”

 

2020 IS THE YEAR FOR VISION

Rian Whitton, ABI Research

“Thousands of robots to be shipped with vision-based perception. Vision-based perception, based on the use of advanced machine vision, has become increasingly popularized, with Seegrid and Gideon Brothers leading the way for vision-based robotics in the manufacturing space. Importantly, Amazon’s acquisition of Canvas Technology in 2019 will likely mean the rollout of vision-based autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in 2020 and onwards, accelerating its popularization across the sprawling Amazon ecosystem. This technology will further accelerate the transition from AGVs to more flexible AMR’s for intralogistics and indoor operations.”

 

CLEANING ROBOTS WILL CLEAN UP

Claus Risager, CEO, Blue Ocean Robotics

Claus Risager, Blue Ocean Robotics

“In 2020, a true explosion in cleaning robots for professional customers is expected, as many of the big industrial cleaning machine players have been developing robotic cleaning machines for some time. Many of these are going to scale up during 2020 and beyond – it will be really exciting to see this progress. Logistics, cleaning and other mobile robot applications in healthcare is expected to continue with significant growth – this growth will be less dependent on the market trends compared to the manufacturing industry.”

 

DARK KITCHENS, FOOD DELIVERY GROWTH

Buck Jordan, CEO, Miso Robotics

Buck Jordan, Miso Robotics

“The global food delivery market is expected to grow to 11.4% by 2024, and 2020 will be a catalyst year that could drive that number up. Traditional restaurants are already seeing profit losses between 8 and 25% when using food delivery services such as Uber Eats. We expect more restaurants to prioritize finding solutions that allow them to incorporate delivery methods and meet demand, without losing out on revenue. With more customers leaning on delivery, restaurants look at opportunities to cut space. If you’re not getting the foot traffic, why invest in the space? Enter dark kitchens. 2020 will see investment increases in restaurants that operate without an onsite diner experience.”

 

POSSIBLE VOLATILITY IN MOBILE ROBOT MARKET

Claus Risager, Blue Ocean Robotics

“Mobile robot technologies are quite mature – all kinds of mobile robots will grow significantly in 2020. This includes mobile robots for logistics, as well as robotic applications where mobility features as an integral part of the process being done by robots. However, for mobile robots in applications found in manufacturing, there could be some fluctuations in growth depending on market trends. For example, if the U.S. and China trade war continues or escalates, then growth of industrial mobile robots may even decrease. If the trade war is settled, there may be booming growth in 2020. Modern industrial robots, including mobile robots, may be affected by the shifting volatility in the market. Some industrial players seem to be quite nervous, which had an effect on sales before and around the summer. This shows that industrial robots are very dependent on fluctuations in market trends.”

 

RISE OF THE QUADRUPEDS

Rian Whitton, ABI Research

“While Boston Dynamics’ desire to commercialize its Spot Mini for verticals like construction and delivery has been clear for some time, we are still at the beginning for quadruped deployments. Two key challenges are technical redundancy and cost. For the latter, British developer Zoa Robotics believes it can market a quadruped with an annual cost well below $45,000. This would be a significant price drop from the hundreds of thousands of dollars these systems have traditionally cost.  There is a big opportunity in the oil and gas space, as large companies try to automate visual inspections of their assets.”

 

GROWTH IN MOBILE DEPENDS ON SPECIFICITY

Claus Risager, Blue Ocean Robotics

“Mobile robots in applications with very open-ended environments, such as city traffic, will progress, but at a relatively slow pace due to challenges in reliability and safety, as well as the lengthy processes for government and official standards that allow for such classes of mobile robots. Thus, the major growth of mobile robots will be in applications that are restricted to more well-defined and controlled environments, such as inside factories, hospitals, schools, shopping malls, agricultural fields and farms, construction sites, and hotels.”