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DRIVE FOR ROBOT AUTONOMY

19 Sep 05. Frost & Sullivan have produced a report on nomy in robots. Autonomy is the latest buzzword in the field of emerging robotics technologies. Researchers world over are directing their efforts toward incorporating greater autonomy to enable robots to make more coherent decisions independently.

Besides being incapable of survival in an outdoor environment, robots cannot make decisions out of the matrix of choices available in their internal programs. Now, market participants such as iRobot and Evolution Robotics, Inc. are working toward creating more autonomous and intelligent machines as companies move robots from indoor to outdoor environments. For instance, autonomy is crucial for defense applications such as ground warfare where robotics plays a vital role.

“In the future, robots are going to be highly beneficial for reducing human/manual intervention in high-risk activities such as detecting explosives and landmines,” explains Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Amreetha Vijayakumar.

The U.S. Military is also keen on offering financial support to universities and firms to introduce surgical robots into the medical arena, which can aid physicians in treating wounded soldiers in the battlefield.

With a single robot performing multiple functions, there is also an urgent need for a standardized platform to integrate the different software modules.

“Varied software components are available for synthesizing voice to make robots respond to vocal commands, or for processing the images captured by the robot’s camera eye,” says Vijayakumar. “However, these tools cannot function simultaneously due to the lack of a common platform.”

There are industry wide initiatives toward standardization of software solutions. For example, Evolution Robotics’ ‘Evolution robotics software platform'(ERSP) enables developers to effortlessly assimilate different software components and hardware to create customized personal robots. As technical advancements surge, participants must also overcome social issues, which are restricting adoption of robotics.

“Most employees fear that robots that work faster and require no remuneration, could replace them in the long run,” points out Vijayakumar. “This was especially true when the manufacturing industry started to look for robot workers particularly during an economic crunch.”

Nonetheless, the increase in demand for miniaturization fuelled by breakthroughs such as nanobots, neural networks, and prosthetics, combined with advances in artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to propel growth of robotics technology and guarantee its incorporation into routine life.

World Emerging Robotics Technology is part of the Aerospace & Defence vertical subscription service, and provides an in-depth analysis of the latest trends in emerging robotics technologies. The study throws light on worldwide technology developments in this field and analyzes applications in different verticals such as manufacturing, defense, healthcare, and consumer robotics. It also focuses on research efforts of various vendors and the needs of the end users. This will enable participants to plan strategically for long-term benefits. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.

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