Trend towards autonomous robots

Paul Boughton

Autonomy is the latest buzzword in the field of emerging robotics technologies. Researchers around the world are directing their efforts toward incorporating greater autonomy to enable robots to make more coherent decisions independently.

Besides being incapable of survival in an outdoor environment, robots cannot make decisions out of the matrix of choices available in their internal programs. Now, market participants such as iRobot and Evolution Robotics are working towards creating more autonomous and intelligent machines as companies move robots from indoor to outdoor environments.

For instance, autonomy is crucial for defence applications such as ground warfare where robotics plays a vital role.

“In the future, robots are going to be highly beneficial for reducing human/manual intervention in high-risk activities such as detecting explosives and landmines,” explains Frost & Sullivan research analyst Amreetha Vijayakumar.

The USA Military is also keen on offering financial support to universities and firms to introduce surgical robots into the medical arena, which can aid physicians in treating wounded soldiers in the battlefield.

With a single robot performing multiple functions, there is also an urgent need for a standardised platform to integrate the different software modules.

“Varied software components are available for synthesising voice to make robots respond to vocal commands, or for processing the images captured by the robot’s camera eye,” says Vijayakumar. “However, these tools cannot function simultaneously due to the lack of a common platform.”

There are initiatives toward standardisation of software. For example, Evolution Robotics’ ‘Evolution robotics software platform’ enables developers to  assimilate different software components and hardware to create customised personal robots. Participants must also overcome social issues, which are restricting adoption of robotics.

World Emerging Robotics Technology is part of the Aerospace and Defence vertical subscription service from Frost & Sullivan. 

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