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"Robotics will probably touch every business over the next decade," says Dan Olds, an analyst with OrionX. "I think we're nearing a tipping point where more businesses will be adding robots and robotics to their operations. They'll be doing everything from manufacturing, to delivering food to restaurant tables to cleaning chores and farming - and lots of stuff in between."
While robots have been working on assembly lines and in giant warehouses for some time, they've become much more than giant hulking arms moving car doors and stacking boxes. With advances in technologies like artificial intelligence, computer vision and mobility, robots are taking on a host of new roles.
Late last summer, for instance, Lowe's, the home improvement chain, announced plans to use customer-service robots in 11 stores in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Aloft hotel in Cupertino, Calif. is already using a robot butler to autonomously deliver snacks and small items to guests in their rooms.
And two delivery companies — Postmates and DoorDash — will use fleets of autonomous robots to bring orders directly to customers' front doors. That means the robots will navigate through cities and on crowded sidewalks in Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley.
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