The future of collaborative robots is bright. The market is projected to grow rapidly in the short-term, driven by the fact that collaborative robots can quickly and cost effectively address manufacturers most pressing problems. In addition to this robust market growth, collaborative robot technology is evolving rapidly to keep up with demand for more and more productive robotic solutions.
Amidst all of this growth and technological evolution, what exactly does the future of collaborative robots look like?
Current Technological Innovations in Collaborative Robots
A number of new technologies are taking collaborative robots to new heights. Chief among them is the use of advanced embedded vision systems. These vision systems are at the heart of how collaborative robots are able to operate so safely, identifying the presence of humans and unsafe operations. Further, embedded vision helps collaborative robots identify the location and orientation of parts, allowing them to operate more flexibly and reliably.
New gripper technology allows collaborative robots to work with a wider range of materials in more applications. For example, new forms of soft grippers allow collaborative robots to gently grasp items such as fruit and vegetables without damaging the product.
Future Capabilities of Collaborative Robots
One of the most immediate improvements that collaborative robots are likely to see are extensive interactive features. This may come in the form of recognizing voice commands for more seamless collaboration with human workers. Even more advanced versions of interactivity may include advanced vision systems that recognize which stage of production a human worker is completing, allowing the robot to then perform the required tasks without any operator interference.
Another future capability of collaborative robots may be their ability to perform unrestricted movements. Rather than performing pre-programmed tasks repeatedly, collaborative robots could be intelligent enough to move away from programmed instructions to accurately complete tasks in unstructured environments.
Collaborative robots will advance drastically in the near future as advanced vision systems, deep learning techniques, and other new technologies create the opportunity for entirely new capabilities.
The future for collaborative robots looks promising. With robust market growth and a wealth of technological innovation on the horizon, expect these robots to be integrated into more and more applications all over the world.
To learn more on this topic, read our beginner’s section article, “The Future of Collaborative Robots.”