Future of robotics

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TOPIO, a humanoid robot, played ping pong at Tokyo IREX 2009.[1]

This article is about the future of robotics for civil use.


  • Caterpillar plans to develop remote controlled machines and expects to develop fully autonomous heavy robots by 2021.[1] Some cranes already are remote controlled.
  • It was demonstrated that a robot can perform a herding [2] task.
  • Robots are increasingly used in manufacturing (since the 1960s). In the auto industry they can amount for more than half of the "labor". There are even "lights off" factories such as an IBM keyboard manufacturing factory in Texas that is 100% automated.[2]
  • Robots such as HOSPI [3] are used as couriers in hospitals (hospital robot). Other hospital tasks performed by robots are receptionists, guides and porters helpers, [4] (not to mention surgical robot helpers such as Da Vinci)
  • Robots can serve as waiters [5] [6] and cooks.[7], also at home. Boris is a robot that can load a dishwasher.[3]


Soft and squishy robots: phase-change materials could allow even low-cost robots to switch between hard and soft states.[4] Flexible machining robot: foamed polystyrene materials would cut the cost of the industrial robots.[citation needed]

Market evolution

Today's market is not fully mature. One or more software compatibility layers have yet to emerge to allow the development of a rich robotics ecosystem (similar to today's personal computers one). The most commonly used software in the robotics research are free software solutions such as Player/Stage or cross-platform technologies such as URBI. Microsoft is currently working in this direction with its new proprietary software Microsoft Robotics Studio. The use of open source tools helps in continued improvement of the tools and algorithms for robotic research from the point one team leaves it.

Projected robotics timeline

  • 2015-2020 - every South Korean and many European households will have a robot, The Ministry of Information and Communication (South Korea), 2007[5]
  • 2018 - robots will routinely carry out surgery, South Korea government 2007[5]
  • 2022 - intelligent robots that sense their environment, make decisions, and learn are used in 30% of households and organizations - TechCast[6]
  • 2030 - robots capable of performing at human level at most manual jobs Marshall Brain[7]
  • 2034 - robots (home automation systems) performing most household tasks, Helen Greiner, Chairman of iRobot[8]
  • 2050 - robot "brains" based on computers that execute 100 trillion instructions per second will start rivaling human intelligence[9]

Military robots :

  • 2015 - one third of US fighting strength will be composed of robots - US Department of Defense, 2006[10]
  • 2035 - first completely autonomous robot soldiers in operation - US Department of Defense, 2006[10]

Developments related to robotics from the Japan NISTEP [11] 2030 report :

Robot rights

According to research commissioned by the UK Office of Science and Innovation's Horizon Scanning Centre,[14] robots could one day demand the same citizen's rights as humans. The study also warns that the rise of robots could put a strain on resources and the environment.

See also


External links