We wanted to continue our talk about trends in artificial intelligence and automation. While this may be a fear for some or a Jetsons fantasy fulfilled for others, robotics is on the rise. Robots are in our homes, at work, in the streets and beyond. The goal of robotics is to design intelligent machines that can assist humans in their day-to-day lives. Automation originated in the 1940s to keep workers safe during the manufacturing process. We have just improved the technology and made it more mainstream since then. While there are benefits and disadvantages alike, the possibilities seem endless and only limited by our imagination.
Home Product Robots
IRobot’s Roomba has been making it onto lists since 2002 because it keeps improving the way it cleans your floors. It now links to Wi-Fi, Alexa or Google Assistant, but you should still be cautious if you have a dog. Shark IQ Robot is an XL autonomous vacuum with a self-empty base and home mapping available.
Worx Landroid or any of the autonomous lawnmowers on this list does the yard work for you and is an alternative to gasoline engine lawnmowers. Mean Green, which has developed zero-emissions mowers since 2012, partnered with robotics company Kobi to create ATOM for commercial use.
Automatic Pet Treat/Food Dispenser you can schedule treats or give them manually to your pet no matter where you are. They usually work through an app that you have to download on your smartphone. Some are designed for dogs, some for cats, but most can be used for both. Furbo or WOPET are a couple of options. However, it is always best to choose what is right for you and your pet.
Flippy is the world’s first autonomous kitchen assistant by Miso Robotics set to work the grill and fryer in quick-service restaurants. QSRs operate on really small margins. Flippy can potentially cut labor costs by up to 67% by automating labor, resulting in projected profit margins of roughly 300%. It is OSHA compliant and cooks consistently and perfectly every time. The kitchen staff is then free to work in other areas providing better customer service after faster speeds.
Robots could also save companies a lot of money in last-mile delivery costs. Last year, Doordash began using food delivery bots to drop off food to recipients that used their smartphone in order to unlock and retrieve their goodies. They partnered with Starship, which makes the robots with 360-degree view cameras, speeds of 4mph, and the ability to carry up to 22lbs of food. This form of contactless delivery could not have come at a more appropriate time than during our current pandemic.
“While today the market for autonomous vehicles consists primarily of unmanned military drones, our research shows that over the next 12 years it will transform into one that is 60 percent civilian; include ground, sea, air, and space transportation”. Bart’s favorite for the last 20 years
Waymo started testing its Waymo One autonomous ride-share service without passengers in Phoenix this spring. They have also partnered with UPS in a pilot program to haul packages in the minivans. Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous vehicle unit also launched testing of autonomous Peterbilt trucks in Texas this fall and announced plans to make Dallas the center of those technology efforts.
Space vs Earth Robotics
Autonomous robotic systems are critical to assisting humans in space exploration with everything from ship and habitat maintenance to remote R&D. Scientists are developing machine learning components in aviation systems in order to improve perception and optimize control of space-based robots. There is plenty of technology exchange between what NASA or SpaceX uses in the sky and what we earthlings develop. The biggest difference is the way a robot operates in extreme temperatures or radiation, for example, and the materials used. The advances in space-robot technology have transferred most directly to deep-sea robots, where we may know less about than other planets.
This was the topic of a TED talk by Bob Ballard in which he asked why we were ignoring the oceans that makeup 70 percent of the planet. An autonomous, ocean-crossing boat called Saildrone and the Trident underwater drone are robots designed to help explore our oceans’ ecosystems. It is becoming essential to reduce the impact humans have on this environment in order to sustain life on Earth. This is part of the mission that drives the organization, Oceankind. Ocean cleanup is a huge concern and the WasteShark is just one solution to address the issue of litter impacting our seas.