Service Robots Open New Avenues for an Automated Workforce

  • December 20, 2016
  • Feature

By Mufassira Fathima, Writer, Allied Analytic LLP 

Robots are no longer a Sci-Fi dream, and are well on their way to establishing a reality that we all fantasized about. Artificial intelligence coupled with advancing technology has ensured that the next generation robots are brought to the aid of the service sector. The bots are finally demonstrating a remarkable ability to perform hard, dangerous, or menial jobs. These include tasks such as moving around heavy objects, providing customer assistance, aiding disabled people & patients, or even for security purposes in the defense sector. The service robotics industry is touted to soon take over from the human work in the next few years. This is due to its increasing adoption by diverse verticals for domestic as well as commercial purposes.

Warming up these cold machines, the populace is slowly accepting that robots make lives much easier and fruitful by saving them a lot of time. The exciting possibilities of employing the use of these intelligent machines in different applications has promised great potential for the service robotics market. Experts at Allied Market Research have observed that professional service robots contribute to a greater share in total market revenues, as compared to personal service ones. The industry promises endless prospects for tapping the potential of these smart bots.

Agro-robots: Revolutionizing agricultural techniques

The humble farmer who usually brings the grain to our table will soon be a state-of-the-art intelligent machine. Agriculture industry is set to witness a major revamp as increasing number of farm jobs can be accomplished by using robots. The bots will soon replace human labor force in agriculture, and eliminate the high costs associated with employing people to sow and harvest crops. The rising demand for essential food crops can be met with the deployment of robots in the various farm activities and minimize the time taken by each task.

Robotic engineers and researchers are coming up with new innovations to program robots for working in the agriculture sector. For instance, researchers from UK’s Harper Adams University have attempted to grow and harvest a complete hectare of cereal crops through intelligent machines. The project is entitled as Hands Free Hectare, and is based on the idea of precision farming. It aims to completely do away with the need for human workforce on the field. The project is one of the most ambitious projects, as it had been led in collaboration with precision farming specialist, Precision Decisions.

“We believe there is now no technological barrier to automated field agriculture. This project gives us the opportunity to prove this,” says Kit Franklin, one of the Hands Free Hectare researchers at Harper Adams University. Similar such researches are aimed at developing autonomous agriculture technologies that can introduce driverless tractors, crop irrigators and harvesting machine.

Humanoid robots to make banking fun & interactive

Banks, usually considered as uninteresting and serious places are now ready for some introduction of fun elements. Developers have come up with robots that are aimed at making banking a more interactive and personal experience. To see a cute robot, walk up and communicate politely with you when you enter a bank would certainly add to the “cool” factor. Alderan Robotics and SoftBank has teamed together and designed a humanoid robot, Pepper, which has the ability to read emotions. The artificial intelligence-backed robot was announced in 2014 and has already found place in major stores and banks across Japan and Europe. Asian countries, such as Taiwan have been quick to adopt these bots in their workplaces. Taiwan’s biggest insurer, Cathay Life Insurance, introduced its first mini ‘Pepper’ robot in its branch. The intelligent humanoid machines greet customers as they walk in, read their facial expressions and body language, and interact accordingly. They have made for a more engaging and fun experience, and are expert marketing tools. Pepper robots also provide information on financial products and even guide customers through the bank to intended departments.

"Pepper's job is to greet customers and introduce products to make the wait for services less boring," said Rachel Wang, the insurer's executive vice president. Apart from providing ease of service and serving different functions, such robots are extremely effective in ensuring that customers are impressed by the organization’s marketing skills and stay loyal to the brand.

Intelligent machines to be the future of healthcare

It is extremely vital that the most intelligent machines created by mankind should also serve for human wellbeing. Healthcare is another area where robots can help revolutionize the practices in the industry. Engineers and medical researchers together have been continually developing robots that can cater to the needs of the patient and decrease the recovery time. Nano robots are the new rage among surgeons, where these tiny engineered devices are inserted into the body, and programmed to tackle cell damage and repair tissues within the body. This can potentially alter the way medicine is combined with technology for advanced healing techniques.

Moreover, robots are also being used by surgeons for aiding in complex surgeries and treatments. Along with these, the cold machines are also being made more humane and gentle, to help patients recover in hospitals. Elderlies and physically challenged patients are also reaping the benefits of having a human robot at their disposal, which can provide assistance to perform simple tasks, as well as remind them about medication. The robotic revolution is expected to be of great support to the healthcare industry, as it can realize tasks that are menial, intricate, or even potentially dangerous.

With the robotics revolution taking the world by storm, people across various verticals are warming up to the idea of these cold machines. Millennials are fascinated as well as amazed at the wide gamut of operations a robot is capable of achieving. Emerging nations are investing their resources to bring life to machines and create a task force of robots that can do menial, odd, or boring jobs that would make human beings more employable in other deserving areas. Robots are achieving more complicated levels of functionality and thus proving more effective than a human labor force. With a more futuristic outlook being adopted, the service robotics market can be counted on for meeting the demands of a fast-paced dynamic world.  

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