'Cobots' Poised to Fuel the Future of the Robotics Market, ABI Research Forecasts

There is a growing interest in how cognitive systems can improve robotic solutions, both in the incremental sense of improving productivity and the strategic sense of adding entirely new capabilities, according to a new report from ABI Research.  


The innate value of cognitive systems runs on a parallel track with the development of collaborative robotics. As one of the most dynamic sub-sections of the robotics industry collaborative robotics, or “cobots”, have gone from an interesting novelty to a key emerging market within less than a decade.

“While collaborative robots have ceased being a novelty, we expect their adoption rate to accelerate in the coming decades, going from a relative outlier in the larger industry to a central pillar,” said Rian Whitton, Research Analyst at ABI Research. 

“Currently less than $500 million in global revenue in 2017, the cobot market will grow considerably -- to nearly $13 billion in 2027," Whitton continued. "The largest markets now are in Europe and the United States, but the APAC region will be the primary source of growth for the future, largely as a reflection of China’s increased adoption of robotic solutions.”

Already, cognitive systems are making it easier for human operators to interact with and utilize collaborative robots. Cognitive systems are defined broadly as an architecture that is responsible for the cognitive work of knowing, understanding, planning, deciding, problem-solving, analyzing, synthesizing, assessing, judging, and other human-like capabilities.

Visual programming interfaces that utilize decision-trees are ending the need for advanced coding or programming to change and eschew commands, while software applications are increasingly leveraging sophisticated simulation.

At the same time, Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) platforms and software providers are helping companies ingest large quantities of data and gain requisite insights. This can amount to improvements in strength optimization, materials handling, defect detection and predictive maintenance.

When these solutions are incorporated into an effective IoT platform, the efficiencies can be impressive. Japanese Industrial giant Fanuc claimed that its bespoke FIELD edge-based IoT platform, in an 18-month partnership with an automotive manufacturer, reduced unplanned downtime by a rate of $20,000 per minute.

“Though an exciting technology, collaborative robots need to improve considerably to reach the expectations set by the wider industry and to provide smaller end-users with genuine robotic solutions,” Whitton said. “Leveraging cognitive systems via software development kits (SDKs), IIoT platforms, and human-machine interfaces will be the primary way of achieving that moving forward - with value shifting from hardware to software.”

(For more information visit https://www.abiresearch.com.)