The time may have finally come wherein robots may be tapped to save the US economy from the limbo it has recently found itself in, a report on Georgia Tech said.
Henrik Christensen, Georgia Tech’s KUKA Chair of Robotics in the College of Computing, said that robotics technology may be as ubiquitous as the computer system we are now using in about 15 years. This is what he hopes the US Congress will realize once he presents “A Roadmap for U.S. Robotics: From Internet to Robotics – 2013 Edition” during the Congressional Robotics Caucus on March 20.
The report highlights the role of robots in multiple sectors and industries over the last five years. It also gives an outlook of how the robotics system will grow in the next decade, as well as its potential to improve the US economy.
Christensen said the success of the robotics industry can bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. Companies no longer need to put the manufacturing department of their businesses offshore because they can afford to produce merchandise right on US soil.
Some of the industries that have benefitted from the use of robotic systems are the computer hardware and software, logistics and delivery, agriculture, medical, military and even space exploration.
The use of robotics in the manufacturing sector and other industries will not lead to loss of jobs for Americans, Christensen was quick to point out. Instead, the manpower would be concentrated on a different sector than dangerous jobs that involve men operating heavy machineries. It would be a win-win situation for the employers and employees: employers will sleep soundly knowing their workers are safe in the workplace while employees would also be comfortable knowing they don’t need to wrestle with heavy and risky machines.
But more than the manufacturing industry, the robotics system also helps companies like Amazon to improve logistics and reduce delivery costs. Such benefits can trickle down to consumers, who usually shoulder these extra expenses. Robots are also being used in agriculture wherein it delivers pesticides to the crops. This lessens the need for farmers to get exposed to the hazardous chemical.
In the medical field, robots are being used in surgery especially in the fields of cardiothoracic, gynecology, urology, orthopedics and neurology. The use of the system in surgical procedures can reportedly lower complications by as much as 80 percent.
The system is also being used as first-time responders and soldiers, as well as in space exploration like the Opportunity and Curiosity on Mars rover.
Future of Robotics
Christensen hopes that lawmakers can see the rich potential of robotics system and allocate resources to further the industry. He believes the system can boost the US economy and bring back the jobs lost during the last few years.
But although robots have been widely used in different sectors, there is still much that needs to be done. Christensen outlined the boost needed by the robotics system in five-, 10- and 15-year milestones. He said that the system needs development in the fields of 3D perception, safe robot behavior and human-robot interaction.
Source: Georgia Tech