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Feb 2024
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5 robot trends you should keep an eye on in 2024

This year, the International Federation of Robotics is once again presenting the top trends for the robotics and automation industry. The record number of 3.9 million operational robots worldwide alone illustratesthe increasing relevance of new developments. According to the IFR, the demand for robots will even increase in the future, driven by new innovations. We have summarized the five most important developments for you.

The Top 5 Robotics Trends in 2024 - Source: IFR

1.  Further development of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is the cornerstone for further development in the robotics and automation industry. The topic has also gained a high profile among the general public, not least thanks to the chatbot ChatGPT - not only in the media, but also more and more as part of our everyday life.

Robotics manufacturers such as Universal Robots, FANUC and many others are constantly working on the further development of new AI-controlled interfaces in order to offer new solutions and make programming easier. No special skills will be longer required to program a robot. This is exactly where the patented robobrain® technology comes in, which gives robots new capabilities and combines vision, AI algorithms and individual robotics components in order to make automation processes even smarter (learn more about our technology here).

Predictive AI is also a great help for companies. For example, AI can be used to analyze robot performance data in order to determine future material requirements. Such maintenance can save costs due to potential downtime. In the automotive industry, for example, a downtime of just one hour would cost around 1.3 million US dollars. In the process of AI-controlled data analysis, however, data from several robots performing the same process can also be viewed simultaneously. Machine learning algorithms optimize the available data for this purpose. In general, the more data available to the machine learning algorithm, the better its performance.

2.   New selection of cobots

Cobots are once again an important part of this year'strends. The collaboration between humans and robots is made possible by advances in sensor technology, vision technology and the development of smart grippers. This enables cobots to react to changes in their environment in realtime to ensure safe collaboration with humans. In addition to the further development of AI in connection with cobots, progress is also being made in the selection of cobots. Current market developments show that cobots are increasingly being used in welding applications. Cobots are therefore new tools to support or even replace human workers in heavy lifting, repetitive or even dangerous tasks. This makes them an important component in increasing a company's productivity in times of skilled worker shortage.

3.   Mobile manipulators

In order to be able to compete with new marketcompetitors, the focus is increasingly shifting to collaborative robots. One particular cobot is the mobile manipulator, also known as "MoMa" for short. This consists of a mobile robot and a collaborative robot arm. This combines mobility and dexterity. These skills are important for using the cobot in complex environments, such as in manufacturing applications. The most important advantage of mobile manipulators is their ability to work together with human workers. This can ultimately also compensate for staff shortages. Mobile manipulators are used in particular for the automation of material transportation in the automotive industry, logistics and aerospace. Another example from the field of AI robotics: uMobile Lab - the mobile helper for laboratories

4.   Digital Twins

Finally, artificial intelligence and robotics have given rise to the digital twin. The digital twin represents a virtual image of a physical system and is used to optimize performance. Digital twins use real data to carry out simulations and predict probable outcomes. They can be tested and modified under stressful conditions without impacting a company's security. Digital twins are increasingly being integrated into companies as they also can save costs. This is because all options can first be checked virtually before they are finally used in the physical world. Digital twins thus create a bridge between the digital and physical worlds.

5.   Humanoids

Humanoids are one of the most significant advances in robotics. They consist of a human-like design with two arms and two legs and can therefore be used flexibly in all working environments. The goal is to easily integrate them into existing processes and infrastructures. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently even published the goal of mass-producing humanoids by 2025. They believe that human-like robots will be another revolutionary technology alongside smartphones and computers. They are expected to significantly change our lives in the future. The development of humanoids will have an impact on a wide range of sectors. However, in order to be introduced to the mass market, they still face increasing challenges. In addition to costs, competitiveness is also an important issue. This raises the question of whether humanoid robots will be able to keep up with established robotic solutions.

Maurice Brodhun
Head of Marketing