Robot, any automatically operated machine that replaces human effort, though it may not resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a humanlike manner. By extension, robotics is the engineering discipline dealing with the design, construction, and operation of robots. Robots were originally built to handle monotonous tasks (like building cars on an assembly line), but have since expanded well beyond their initial uses to perform tasks like fighting fires, cleaning homes and assisting with incredibly intricate surgeries. Each robot has a differing level of autonomy, ranging from human-controlled bots that carry out tasks that a human has full control over to fully-autonomous bots that perform tasks without any external influences.
As technology progresses, so too does the scope of what is considered robotics. These robots consist mainly of mechanical arms tasked with welding or screwing on certain parts of a car. Today, we’re seeing an evolved and expanded definition of robotics that includes the development, creation and use of bots that explore Earth’s harshest conditions, robots that assist law enforcement and even robots that assist in almost every facet of healthcare.
While the overall world of robotics is expanding, a robot has some consistent characteristics:
- Robots all consist of some sort of mechanical construction. The mechanical aspect of a robot helps it complete tasks in the environment for which it’s designed. For example, the Mars 2020 Rover’s wheels are individually motorized and made of titanium tubing that helps it firmly grip the harsh terrain of the red planet.
- Robots need electrical components that control and power the machinery. Essentially, an electric current (a battery, for example) is needed to power a large majority of robots.
- Robots contain at least some level of computer programming. Without a set of code telling it what to do, a robot would just be another piece of simple machinery. Inserting a program into a robot gives it the ability to know when and how to carry out a task.
As artificial intelligence and software also continue to progress, in near future, thanks to advances in these technologies, robots will continue getting smarter, more flexible and more energy efficient. They’ll also continue to be a main focal point in smart factories, where they’ll take on more difficult challenges and help to secure global supply chains.
AI and robots are a powerful combination for automating tasks. In recent times, artificial intelligence has become a significantly common presence in robotic solutions, bringing in learning capabilities and flexibility in previously rigid applications.
Some of the applications where AI and Robots can bring more optimization
Agriculture and Farming
With the food supply chain facing a crisis, courtesy of centuries of environmental abuse, over-farming, labor shortages, and population growth, it is threatening our most basic needs. AI and automation are believed to provide relief from the effects of an aging agricultural workforce. With the likes of autonomous drones, self-driving agricultural machines, etc., farmers can spend more time focusing on creating sustainable harvests and less time watching the path in front of them.
Autonomous flying uses computer vision technology for hovering in the air while avoiding obstacles and moving in a straight path. With the introduction of artificial intelligence, these flying machines are getting smarter. From aerial view monitoring to security surveillance, video recording, rescue missions, and more, drones and unmanned aerial vehicles are revolutionizing and replacing many job roles. The application of computer vision in autonomous flying includes obstacle detection, collision avoidance, self-navigation, and object tracking.
Machine learning can bring some drastic changes to how autonomous flying vehicles function. While object tracking UAVs capture real-time data, it also uses an on-board intelligence system that enables it to make human-independent decisions based on the real-time data.
These drones can be used in urban management and smart cities for advanced surveillance, quick facial recognition, or tracing unwanted objects. They are also highly beneficial in agriculture and farming as they can monitor crops, check the soil fertility, assess soil, and help crop production. Other applications may include:
- Scanning or mapping terrain of buildings in real estate;
- In the military to bombard or combat enemies in the war;
- For human tracking and face recognition.
Manufacturing and Production
The evolution of the manufacturing and production industry is seen with the implementation of robotics and AI. The primary reason for the introduction of AI in the manufacturing industry is to cover for the lack of workforce, simplify the whole production process, and improve efficiency. Earlier, it used to take a whole team’s effort to manage one task system. Now since bots have taken over, it has helped manufacturers boost production speed.
AI is helping the industry by making product decisions instant and smarter. This is an era of customized products, and AI is helping manufacturers gather useful customer data, which is used to make product-based decisions. Also, it has helped the companies to reduce the overall cost of production. AI and robotics is the future of manufacturing. To get a better understanding of how essential are robotics and AI in the manufacturing industry, have a look at their use cases:
- Demand-based production;
- Automatic control;
- Damage control and quick maintenance;
- Product design and redesign.
Sports Analytics and Activities
The sports industry is embracing artificial intelligence and robots to make games more exciting and fairer. AI is helping players improve their fitness and help teams discover new talents. In some sports, robot referees are already a thing, while smart machines are assisting spectators in finding their seats at the stadium. For those who don’t want to visit the jam packed stadium to have fun, their fan experience is retained and redefined using VR headsets. Artificial intelligence is also helping clubs and teams come up with strategies based on previous data.
The following are some of the interventions that are being implemented in the sports industry:
- Smart apps and Virtual Reality tech are driving fan engagement;
- Tech-powered refereeing is soon going to become a reality;
- Smart algorithms are developing new games;
- AI is helping team management and support staff to find new star players;
- AI is assisting clubs and teams to protect the wellbeing of their players.
As ESSCI is a skilling body in the electronics domain, we have developed job roles for skilling the manpower in the robotics technology to match the industry requirement and in STEM programs also included one of the verticals for learning is Robotics to train the school level students in the upcoming technologies.