The Robotics Revolution And The Path Ahead
Navidar | February 7, 2023
It is nearly impossible to read a newspaper or consult an online news source these days without coming across something about robots and robotics. Indeed, robotics is frequently mentioned as one of the foundational technologies of the 21st century in the same breath as artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality, biotechnology, and green energy. We at Navidar agree that robotics is one of the most fascinating, promising, and important emerging technologies being developed today and we wanted to explore the industry, its characteristics, and offer a peek into the future with several predictions.
Even before today’s explosion of interest, robotics had long occupied a special place in our culture. We have watched robots like R2D2 and C3PO in Star Wars films, seen robots like Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation on television, and even read about robots (usually gone amok) in popular fiction since the early 1940s when books like Liar and I, Robot, were first published.
One of the major points of this report is that robotics is currently in the midst of major changes—which others, as well as we, call the Robotics Revolution—that are being driven principally by improvements in a broad range of underlying technologies that are used to create robots and that this revolution offers the promise of changing—perhaps even transforming—many facets of our existence, including how we work, do business, travel, relax, and live our daily lives.
These dramatic improvements in software, hardware, computing power, integrated circuits, “smart” materials, sensor technology, artificial intelligence, and numerous other technologies create more opportunities to deploy robots in useful applications and will enable robots to move to new use cases that could not have been imagined only a few years ago.
This trend of improvements in existing technologies and development of new technologies shows no signs of abating. In fact, investment in robotics has exploded over the past decade as traditional venture capitalists, corporate venture funds, and incubators have invested billions of dollars into the robotics field. Robotics is a hot sector today and we may well anticipate continued dramatic advances in the years ahead.
This report is divided into three primary sections and focuses principally on the United States, though we do offer commentary on global robotics developments where relevant. First, the Background & Overview section offers a very brief history of robotics and highlights the key characteristics of robots. Next, the Observations and Commentary section discusses the main growth drivers of the robotics industry and shares several observations about the industry and its interesting structure. Finally, in the Predictions Section, Navidar offers several predictions about how the industry will evolve and discusses some of the issues that the Robotics Revolution will likely create.
The Robotics Revolution is here today, and we will all have a ringside seat to watch this technological revolution unfold. Let us begin our discussion with a very brief history of the industry to set the stage for the broader messages of our report.
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