What Will Robots be Like in the Future?


By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association

Potato TransformerWhat do you think robots will be doing in the future? Often, people wonder how robots will be a part of our everyday lives. Sometimes, a glimpse of the answer comes in the healthcare sector or even the movies.

Robots have long been a part of the hospital landscape, but encounters with hospital robots still make for good news. One example comes from Michigan, where stroke victims receive faster, better medical care thanks to a robot that connects specialists to the patient even though they are physically miles apart. (See “Robots help save lives, care for stroke patients.”)

The “Father of Robotics” would be proud to know of this story. Joseph Engelberger installed the first industrial robot at GM in 1962. After accomplishing great success in the factory setting, he went on to pioneer robots that served as transporters in hospitals. Service robots became his passion, and he proved the economic feasibility of using this technology by leasing it, which is now common practice.

Perhaps one day you will lease a robot like you do a car. In fact, automobiles may be robots one day. Hello, Transformers! In an inside out sort of way, this Hollywood movie franchise might be a harbinger of things to come. We already have cars that can park themselves, provide cruise control and offer GPS tracking. Would you be surprised if adaptive cruise control with GPS tracking might lead to autopilot for cars and trucks?

Imagine an infrastructure that routes vehicles more efficiently and eases traffic congestion based on technology from robotics. It could help with everything from city planning to improvements in safety.

Do you have ideas on what might be next for robotics? Leave your thoughts here. We’d love to hear from you.

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6 Responses to What Will Robots be Like in the Future?

  1. RIA Staff says:

    Japan is known for its love of traditional and nontraditional robot applications. Time ran an interesting article in August 2009: “What’s Behind Japan’s Love Affair with Robots?” — see http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1913913,00.html

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