Robots are already touching almost every aspect of our lives. In the 1980s, industrial robots went mainstream on assembly lines. In the 1990s, robotic surgery arrived. In the 2000s, we saw the rise of military drones to hunt terrorists. Today, we are seeing robots pop up in home and retail settings more frequently than ever before.
The future promises drone deliveries and nano robots to work inside our bodies. We’ll resist the urge to focus on the future or the past. In this blog post, we’ll discuss robot technology that is currently arriving on the market. This is technology that is changing our world in countless ways.
Robotics in Law Enforcement & Public Safety
Police departments and security firms are using robots. Privacy experts are concerned about law enforcement using observation drones and other new technologies.
If police departments can avoid infringing on people’s rights, robots can enhance law enforcement and public safety. Police drones and robots can do everything from crash scene investigation to bomb disposal to rescue missions. One of the most often used scenarios is surveillance.
Were you worried about shark attacks the last time you were at the beach? There’s a drone for that. This is just one example of how robotics can enhance public safety.
Robotics in Healthcare
The transformation of healthcare with robotics is just getting started. We’ve had robotic surgery for decades now. The latest advances include:
What’s a robotic nurse? It can be something as simple as an extra set of hands. Some robotic nurses can take temperature, pulse, and assist doctors with diagnosis. There’s even a robotic system to draw blood.
Robotic farmers may have more potential than robots in any other field. They are far quicker and more efficient than their human counterparts.
There are robots designed to attack weeds for many types of crops. For example, there’s Dino and Ted that spray herbicides only on the weeds. These autonomous robots handle weeds in vegetable crops and vineyards, respectively. By spraying only the weeds, these robots use up to 90% less herbicide.
But farmers need much more than this. What about an extra farm hand to do the hoeing, planting the seeds, taking care of the weeds, and making furrows? Meet Oz, your robotic farming assistant.
Someone has to harvest the crops. This robot can pick oranges from trees at a rate of one orange every 2–3 seconds. There are similar berry-picking and lettuce-picking robots.
You’ve heard of autonomous cars. What about robotic tractors? John Deere has you covered.
With farm labor difficult to find, these agricultural robots will fill one of the greatest needs of the 21st century: more efficient and productive farming for a world with explosive population growth.
Another challenge is fewer productive farming acres because of climate change. Robots are helping us fight climate change too.
Robots That Protect the Environment
Humanoid robotic divers are being used to study the effects of climate change on coral reefs. Why give the robotic diver a humanoid form? Because the dexterity allows the robot to do many of the things only humans can do. But these divers can work at depths where humans can’t survive.
Do you find it frustrating to figure out which garbage bin to put which garbage in? You want to recycle, but you can’t remember if you put the wrong item into the wrong garbage can. Now, there’s a robot for that.
So we have robots growing our food and protecting the environment. What about robots to prepare our food?
Robots in the Restaurant Industry
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, restaurants have had a very difficult time keeping enough employees. Many restaurants are looking for robots to fill the gap. Robots are now performing the following tasks:
- Mixing drinks
- Making pizzas
- Making bread
- Serving and collecting dishes
But what about getting the food from the restaurant to you? There are many bots for food delivery. Since most are for short-range deliveries, they work best in densely populated areas. Nuro is an autonomous delivery vehicle with a longer range. It is working with Kroger, Domino’s, and more. Of course, we’re all waiting for drone delivery for longer range delivery of smaller items.
Of course, Amazon wants to be part of the robotic revolution. Within hours of the time of this writing, Amazon announced it is buying iRobot. This ground-breaking maker of consumer robots such as robotic vacuum cleaners, robotic mops, robotic lawn mowers, and robotic gutter cleaners will now be part of Amazon.
Amazon was already a player in the consumer robotics market. It’s currently test marketing a home robot and a home security drone. With Amazon buying the biggest player in consumer robotics, you can bet that more robots are about to arrive at your home. And, since they’re from Amazon, these robots will probably use Alexa to sell you any of a million products you didn’t even know you needed.
Many people don’t realize how common robots have already become in our lives. That Amazon delivery you just received — a robot in a warehouse probably carried it at some point. Robots are going to play a much bigger role in our lives by the end of this decade. Don’t worry. They will not take over the planet and steal everyone’s jobs. They’re only here to make our lives easier.