According to MarketsandMarkets, the global smart robots market is projected to grow from USD 6.1 billion in 2020 to USD 23.0 billion by 2025. Even though the economy has shrunk considerably due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the demand for domestic robots has therefore come down, professional robots have seen a rise in demand.
Increasing funding for research on robots is one of the major drivers contributing to the growth of the market. Governments of multiple countries are undertaking initiatives for the development of robotics technology. The European Commission has also been funding research, innovation, and development activities for smart service robots.
Professional applications were already expected to hold the largest share of the market in 2020 and the pandemic only reinforced that. As we faced the pandemic, several industries fell short of their workforce. This is why many are moving towards adopting robots to face similar situations in the future.
They were already widely used in agricultural applications, but we are seeing a rise in logistic applications. The pandemic driven boom in e-commerce combined with social distancing rules has increased the demand for warehouses and for delivery. Activities in the food industry were also able to remain open during lockdown as producers of essential goods. This has brought a rise in the development of industry specific robots.
They’re also being used to disinfect buildings, monitor and enforce health related guidelines, and even interact with symptomatic patients in hospitals. The pharmaceutical industry is another sector where more companies are expected to employ robots. It would mean being ready for future emergencies, being capable of higher volumes of production. Companies are now looking at AI enabled robots to accelerate vaccine production and distribution.
Safety and security are the biggest concerns in any growing industry. Smart robots are especially problematic now with the increase of domestic robots for household chores, education, and entertainment. It means the private information of individuals is available on cloud and therefore vulnerable.
For instance, Amazon (US) and Google (US) have enabled voice activation and smart response for various robots and this feature has already been proven to pose a risk to privacy and client security. The consequences of a data breach are particularly significant in healthcare and military & defence sectors and require regulations, without stifling the technology. Robots are used more and more often in a variety of critical applications, such as surgeries, bomb disposal, and so on. Unfortunately, they cannot be manually programmed for every eventuality.
They can also have technical issues, like computer viruses or faulty connections. This means that further development is needed before robots can safely be used in high-risk scenarios, with the implementation of AI, IoT, and better hardware and software security. Accuracy is especially important in drones for obstacle avoidance, more so in healthcare, delivery, and retail where robots are in close proximity to humans.