You might not have heard of Kuka, but you'll almost certainly know its products. The German firm is one of the world's top manufacturers of industrial robots, and its robot arms are instantly recognizable thanks to their signature orange livery. But in the future, Kuka's robots might become an even more familiar sight, with the company saying it's now exploring the world of consumer robotics.
Research firms predicting dramatic growth for the domestic Chinese robotics industry are also predicting very low-cost devices. "We aim to increase the market share of homegrown servomotors, speed reducers and control panels in China to over 30 percent by 2018 or 2019," said Qu Xianming, an expert with the National Manufacturing Strategy Advisory Committee, which advises the government on plans to upgrade the manufacturing sector. The CRIA (China Robot Industry Alliance), and other sources, proffer the number to be closer to 800. Further note that The Robot Report's database doesn't contain companies that just use robots; it focuses on those involved in making robots.]
Capitalism works reasonably well as an economic system - provided that human beings are required to do effectively all of the labor. The workers won, the company won, it was a positive sum game. Surely companies should pay back into the system via taxation in order to offset the amount of money they are no longer paying their employees. A guaranteed basic income (see Is the World Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income?
Georgia Tech's College of Computing offers an online Knowledge Based AI course to 300 students each semester staffed by a professor and eight teaching assistants (TA). Ashok Goel, computer science professor at Georgia Tech, estimates that within one year, Watson's TA identity will be able to answer 40% of the questions submitted, and the majority of students to date didn't realize that their assistance wasn't coming from a human source. Online florist 1-800-FLOWERS.COM (NASDAQ:FLWS) launched its chatbot to help customers place an order or connect them with a human customer service representative. A recent survey of 5,000 consumers conducted by LivePerson, Inc (NASDAQ:LPSN), a leading provider of mobile and online messaging solutions, found that 55% of consumers would prefer a bot over a human, but only in situations where the bot is just as accurate as a human representative.
Rather, they were exploring how malevolent hackers might compromise various kinds of industrial robots, whose number is expected to reach 2.6 million units worldwide by 2019. But increasingly industrial robots are being designed to work alongside human workers, and such collaborative robots, or cobots, could present unique safety issues should their software be compromised. "Indeed, industrial robots--originally conceived to be isolated--have evolved and are now exposed to corporate networks and the Internet," write the report's authors, who examined scans of the Internet and easily found many examples of connected industrial robots. Another eye-opener for me was learning that "[s]ome vendors implement safety features such as emergency stop (e-stop) buttons in software."
It's the new RACE Robotics Lab in Singapore, used to display the latest industrial robots and train engineers working on automated assembly lines. The experience starts in the minimalist, all-black lobby that features just the lab signage (also created by the firm) and LEDs running at various crazy angles.
The range of technologies on display that were designed to enhance processes, improve product quality and lower manufacturing costs was astonishing. In another instance, Fanuc is working on developing the ability to configure a robot through learning instead of programming--specifically the capability to give a robot a task, like picking objects out of a bin and putting them into another container. It seems apparent that as we continue to combine advancing vision technologies with low-cost power processing abilities, the future is endless as to what can be accomplished.
Automated Guided Vehicle Market April 2017, Markets and Markets, $5,650 The automated guided vehicle market is expected to reach $2.68 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 9.34% between 2017 and 2022. Agricultural robots and drones technologies market March 2017, 163 pages, Research and Markets, $5,760 A complex ten-year segmented market forecasts for 14 categories including static milking robotics, mobile dairy farm robots, autosteer tractors, autonomous tractors, unmanned spraying drones, autonomous data mapping drones, robotic implements for de-weeding, autonomous de-weeding mobile robots, robotic fresh fruit harvesting, robotic strawberry harvesting, manned and unmanned robotic lettuce/vegetable thinning/harvesting which is forecast to reach $10 billion as early as 2022. Warehousing and logistics robots February 2017, 104 pages, Tractica, $4,200 Sales of warehousing and logistics robots reached $1.9 billion in 2016 and Tractica expects that the market will continue to grow rapidly reaching a market value of $22.4 billion by the end of 2021. Global industrial robotics services January 2017, 66 pages, Infiniti Research, $3,500 Forecasts the global industrial robotics services market to grow at a CAGR of 10.16% during the period 2017-2021.
In three different facilities spread across America, Tesla's TSLA, -4.93% robot-manufacturing prowess is about to show its worth. If Musk -- who, to his credit, is building rockets that can land already -- can accomplish his accelerated ambitions for automated manufacturing, Tesla would at least own a piece of the pipeline over Apple AAPL, -0.47%.
At the IEEE Security & Privacy conference later this month, they plan to present a case study of attack techniques they developed to subtly sabotage and even fully hijack a 220-pound industrial robotic arm capable of wielding gripping claws, welding tools, or even lasers. And he argues similar techniques would likely work on even larger, more powerful robots like ABB's IRB 460, a robotic arm capable of moving hundreds of pounds. An attacker on the same network as the robot could have used a flaw in its HTTP interface to cause it to run unauthorized commands, or broken the weak encryption the robot's controller used to protect its input data, allowing a hacker to subtly alter its parameters. Aside from ABB, the researchers also used tools like Shodan and ZoomEye to scan the internet for potentially hackable robots and found dozens in countries including the United States, Denmark, Sweden, German, and Japan.