The biggest new advance in the science of industrial robotics is the growing application of the technology to the service industry, particularly in the development of aerial robots, Pogorelcnik says. Robotics has long played an important role in logistics-related applications such as conveyor systems, and is now migrating to the service sector.
“Robots will become much more present in our daily lives,” says Pogorelcnik. “Essentially, they are drones, but ‘aerial robots’ is a much more pleasant term.”
On the warehouse floor, robots can increasingly work side by side with humans, further improving overall productivity. Humans don’t have to be involved in tasks that are “boring or mundane,” and can focus on higher-value activities, she says.
The number-one benefit of modern-day robots to industry is better productivity. Still, says Pogorelcnik, they aren’t killing jobs. On the contrary, robots are generating more complex jobs in new areas.
Some “lights-out” warehouses, especially in Europe, eschew the use of humans altogether in the everyday tasks of putaway and picking. That’s just a more extreme case of robots taking over the most mundane activities. “I think it’s inevitable,” she says.
Aerial robots can be of use in environments such as restaurants, where they can bring food from the kitchen to central area for delivery to the customer by human waiters. The aerial craft can also be used to assess the characteristics of a warehouse stockpile, or search for a specific product in the facility.
“We use robots every day,” says Pogorelcnik.
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