Industrial robotics – from R2-D2 to artificial intelligence
By M Dilchert, Lapp Group Southern Africa
Electricity+Control, February 2015 (pages 12 – 14)
Enquiries: Mark Dilchert.
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Forecasts suggest that in 2015, annual sales of industrial robots will exceed 200 000 units. This boom will come about because industrial robotics has developed in giant steps. Today’s industrial robots are much easier to programme and teach than just a few years ago. Industrial robots can be flexibly and individually used for a huge variety of different tasks with extremely short set-up times.
These industrial robots have little in common with their great grandfathers, who packed bottles into boxes back in the 1960s. Industrial robots are not only used in production, logistics and storage these days. Wherever there are jobs that are too dirty, too dangerous, too strenuous or simply impossible for humans, smart companies are relying on artificial intelligence. The best example of this is service robots. Service robots include remote-controlled vehicles that inspect or weld underwater oil and gas pipelines; industrial robots than ensure drinking water quality in hot regions; or even tiny industrial robots that are sent into sewage systems to clear and repair them.
- Industrial robots will soon be an integral part of our lives as they are in major industrial sectors.
- The reliance on industrial robots has given scientists and journalists reason to dub the 21st century – the age of artificial intelligence.
- Competence is what it takes to be successful in robotics.