The Shape of Things to Come: Projections for Robotics in 2021 and Beyond

If you had to sum up the major theme of 2020 as far as robotics was concerned in a single word, “acceleration” would undoubtedly be it. The technology at the heart of these robotics systems and machines took a major leap forward over the last year, unlocking newer and more sophisticated applications at the same time. 

Indeed, 2021 looks to be a year when this acceleration will continue, as evidenced by a number of fascinating projections for where things may very well be headed over the next 12 months and beyond. 

The Pandemic, the Supply Chain and Robotics 

At this point, it’s safe to say that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of the global supply chain – something that is itself a trend that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. But given this “new normal” that we’re now all dealing with, it makes sense that logistics providers have turned to robotics in an effort to not only meet the changing demands and expectations of customers, but to also position themselves for better agility, transparency and speed as well. 

Warehouse automation solutions, for just one example, are a viable way to not only drive down costs in an environment but to also help control operational complexity at the same time. According to one recent study, sales of these autonomous robots are expected to double in value to an enormous $27 billion by as soon as 2025. 

But this increased use of robotics is also taking place outside of the warehouse, too. Personal Delivery Devices, otherwise known as PPDs for short, were already increasing in popularity even before the onset of the pandemic. Amazon made headlines in recent years with its plan to use sophisticated drones to safely get packages to customers in supported areas in just 30 minutes or less. They’re far from the only company planning on deploying this technology, however. We’re truly not too far off from a time when a “last mile delivery” truck heads to a specific neighborhood and parks, releasing a small swarm of PPDs that will each deliver packages to specific addresses before returning to the origin vehicle once again. 

Using Robotics to Address Labor Shortages 

Another fascinating trend for robotics in 2021 again goes a long way towards proving just how true the old saying of “necessity is the mother of invention” truly is. 

Many industries have been dealing with skills gaps and labor shortages for years – a problem that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the lock downs and layoffs it brought with it. But more and more, savvy organizations are leveraging robotics to automate a lot of those manual, mundane tasks that A) used to take up so much of an employee’s time, and B) that they don’t necessarily have the staff members on hand to complete in the first place. 

In a retail environment, for example, these types of multipurpose robots can not only handle process-driven repeatable tasks like shelf scans, but they can also do them far faster than humans could alone and in a far more accurate way as well. So not only does this go a long way towards making sure that the job still gets done regardless of a business’ labor situation, but it also frees up the valuable time of those remaining human employees to focus on those tasks that truly need their attention. 

To find out more information about all of the most important projections for robotics in 2021 and beyond, or to get answers to any other specific questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

The Story So Far: Looking Back at the Top Robotics Trends of 2020 | Pioneer Industrial Systems (pioneerindsys.com)

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