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Robotics Research
Posted on February 20, 2018 by Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh

New Robotics and Drones 2018 to 2038: Innovations, Markets and Players

Robots are becoming uncaged, mobile, collaborative and increasingly intelligent and dexterous, moving beyond their traditional strongholds to bring automation to previously inaccessible tasks. In this report, we provide a global, comprehensive, and detailed assessment of the robotics and drones technologies and markets.
Our over-arching and master report "New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038" is unique in its depth and breadth. It covers both existing as well as emerging applications and technologies. Indeed, it provides twenty-year forecasts in value and units numbers for 46 categories, painting a comprehensive and quantitative picture of this major transformation.
Furthermore, this report provides detailed technology analysis, assessing the trends in performance and price of key enabling hardware and software technologies whilst considering likely technology development roadmaps. It also profiles key companies and innovative entities working on new robotics and drones.
This figure shows our market forecasts for 46 categories from 2018 to 2038, covering the short, medium and long terms. Note that we have excluded passenger-carrying autonomous vehicles from our forecasts. This could arguably also be part of the greater mobile robotic market and would of course elevate the market significantly within our forecast timeframe. Note that in this report we have also taken the long (20-year) view since our technology roadmap suggests that many applications will make an impact in the longer term. For actual values email us or consult the report. Click here to view larger image Source IDTechEx Research New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Forecasts, Players.
Industrial robotic arms: Chinese demand fuels the growth supercycle
Robotic arms have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1951. In this report, we first examine the different types of industrial arms, assessing the merits of DELTA, SCARA, articulated and Cartesian types.
We then demonstrate how the market for industrial robotic arms has evolved in the past twenty years, tracing the historical market development market in annual unit numbers and value (robotic arm and total system value). Here, we look at market segmentation by application and territory.
We highlight the past cyclic behaviour of spending on industrial robotic arms, whilst showing that in recent years the rise of Chinese automation has pushed the market into a growth super-cycle. We show that China is already the largest purchaser of robotic arms in absolute terms even though it still has a below-average robotic density. We provide short-, medium- as well as long-term projections for the market for industrial robotic arms, in unit numbers as well as in market value. We provide data and analysis on key countries and territories whilst segmenting the market size by application.
Collaborative robotic arms: opening the way to SMEs
Traditional robotic arms are caged, operating in robot-only zones. This is changing with the emergence of collaborative robotic arms. These are a new breed that enables various degrees of human-robot interactions. Given their price and performance, they are fast opening automation opportunities to small- to medium-sized business and are enabling numerous applications in which humans and robots collaborate.
In this report, we show how, following the success of early pioneers, the number of suppliers and types of collaborative arms on the market has multiplied. We then benchmark the different arms on the market in terms of price and performance. We assess the various types degrees of collaboration, the various forms of safety measures, and the status of the legislation and standards regulating the deployment of collaborative robotic arms. Finally, we provide our short- as well as long-term market projections.
Surgical robots: challenging the incumbent
Surgical robotic arms are already a major success story. These robots are being deployed to enable remote-controlled surgeries, offering more stable movements and helping extend the useful life of surgeons.
The market today is seeking to challenge this incumbent whilst at the same time expanding the use of robots to new types of surgeries and spreading the market into new geographical territories. In this report, we will consider the current and future use of surgical robotic arms. We then highlight and assess the incumbent as well as emerging players. Finally, we provide our short-term as well as long-term market forecasts.
New robotics: everything is changing
The world of robotics is changing. The figure shows the market share of old vs. new robotics at different time snapshots, showing that new robotics will come to represent the market majority despite continued growth of existing applications. For the purposes of constructing this figure, old or traditional robotics includes robotic arms (industrial for China and RoW, surgical, 3D printing, milking, etc.), AGVs and AGCs, autonomous tractors (level 3 and 4), consumer drones, and robotic cleaners (dry/wet for home, commercial, pool, etc) and lawn mower. New robotics cover all the other categories included in this report. See the legend of the figure above for a full listing. In the rest of this article we will describe each section in more detail.
This figure shows the share of old vs new robotics at different time snapshots, showing how the market is set to evolve in the future. For more details email us or consult the report.Click here to view larger image. Source: IDTechEx Research. (New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Forecats, Players).
Robotic cleaning and lawn mowing: growing global market opportunity
Autonomous mobile robots are finding numerous applications in both indoor and outdoor environments. Indeed, as the media remains fixated on the ultimate prize of autonomous mobility on general roads, we find that autonomous robots are fast being commercialized in numerous other environments which are more structured and/or offer a more clearly-defined commercial purposes straightaway.
Autonomous personal vacuum cleaner robots are one success story. In fact, they are not even a new technology having been around since the early 1990s. In this report, we will analyse the market, demonstrating that we are entering into the market proliferation and commoditization phase.
This report will benchmark different companies' market positioning in terms of performance (suction power, navigation technology, etc) as well as price. We will show in this report how robotic vacuum cleaning technology is evolving into new use cases. Large-sized cleaners are being offered, either as equipment or service, to commercial centres. Wet robotic cleaners are also being added to product portfolios to address needs for a wider variety of floor types.
This report will also profile key innovative players in home (dry and wet) and commercial vacuum cleaning and provides short- as well as long-term market projections in unit numbers and market value. Note that we will cover non-floor robot cleaners, also highlighting pool and window cleaning.
Lawn moving robots are also a major market opportunity. This technology is also not new. In this report, we will show how different products positions in terms of performance (coverage range, noise level, etc) and price and describe how the technology will evolve. We will also provide short- and long-term market forecasts.
See New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038 for more information
Autonomous mobile robots arrive in commercial spaces
The use of mobile robots is not limited to home or related environments. Indeed, today many mobile robots are entering many commercial spaces. In our report, we will particularly focus on two emerging applications: autonomous retail and security robots.
In retail environments, autonomous robots are being developed to automate stock taking, enabling companies to do the task faster, cheaper and more precisely. In this report, we will show the status of technology development, and will identify and profile the key firms across the global in this sector. We will analyse the market, providing short- and long-term forecasts, in unit numbers and value, that reflect our technology progression roadmaps.
In security environments, autonomous indoor and outdoor robots are being developed to act as autonomous eyes-and-ears. These robots are often sensor-laden, carrying multiple visual and thermal cameras, gas sensors, two-way communication systems, and so on. This is in addition to all the on-board sensors needed to ensure safe autonomous mobility.
In this report, we will profile the key players, highlighting their business model (service vs robot sale), investment levels, product positioning, and so on. We will then analyse the market, offering our assessment of the technology readiness levels whilst providing short- as well as long-term market forecasts for indoor and outdoor autonomous security robots (in units and value).
See New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038 for more information
Agricultural robotics: rise new breeds of agricultural vehicles and implements
This report will describe how robotics is quietly transforming agriculture. First, we consider how advances in computer vision are enabling intelligent and robotic implements. These, in turn, will enable ultra-precision agriculture with far reaching long-term consequences for the agrochemical industry.
Next, we will demonstrate how agriculture is the leading adaptor of autonomous mobility technology. Here, we will analyse the evolution of autonomous mobility in agriculture, showing how the rise of fleets of small unmanned robots will change the way agricultural machinery is envisioned.
We then assess the latest developments in robotic fresh fruit harvesting before examining the progress of stationary and mobile robotics in dairy farming.
In this report, we will assess the readiness levels of different agricultural robotic technologies and profile key companies and innovators in the field. We will also provide detailed short- as well as long-term market forecasts for the following 12 categories: static milking robots, mobile dairy farm robotics, autonomous agricultural small robots (data scouts, weeding and multi-platform), autonomous tractors (simple guidance, autosteer, fully unmanned autonomy), robotic implements (simple and highly intelligent), robotic vegetable harvesting, and robotic fresh fruit picking.
See New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038 for more information
Mobile robots in warehouses and material handling
Automated guided vehicles and carts (AGVs and AGCs) have long been deployed in industrial facilities. In this report, we will show how navigation technology is transitioning from rigid and infrastructure-dependent to autonomous and infrastructure free. This seemingly incremental evolution will enable the rise autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), pushing them not just to increasingly replace AGVs but in time to also diffuse beyond the structured confines of warehouses and factories.
The rise of e-commerce is pushing the adoption of robotic technology in warehouses. In particular, grid-based goods-to-person AGVs have been a major success story, helping boost the productivity of warehouses. Here, the success of the pioneering firm has spawned many similar firms global helping globalize the market and expand beyond early adopters. This sector will boom in the coming years.
This report will also consider the emergence of autonomous forklifts. Our technology roadmap suggests that this change will not happen overnight, showing that autonomous forklifts will remain a tiny share of the global addressable market until around 2023 but soon after will enter the rapid growth phase.
The short- and long-term forecasts in this report cover automated guided vehicles/carts; autonomous industrial forklifts, autonomous mobile carts, and autonomous mobile picking robots.
See New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038 for more information
Robots in the delivery chain
Last mile delivery remains an expensive affair in the parcel delivery business, often representing more than half of the total cost. Autonomous mobile robots are seeking to address this issue.
In this report we will demonstrate that the costs are falling, and how the robots will emerge from their current trial and learning phase better adept at path planning and at object avoidance. The increased autonomy and the lower cost will in turn enable a lower operator-to-fleet-size ratio, making them competitive at the fleet level despite the low productivity of the individual units.
Robots and autonomous mobility are also impacting other steps of the delivery chain. In our report we will also consider the current progress and the future of autonomous long-haul trucks as well as light delivery vans.
Overall, this report provides short- as well as long-term forecasts, in unit numbers and value, for last mile delivery robots, autonomous trucks (level 3 to 5), and light delivery vans (levels 3 to 5). We will also profile the key companies whilst offering insights on future technology progression.
See New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038 for more information.
Drones: what next after the recent commoditization?
In our report, we will show that the drone hardware platform market has in recent years become highly commoditized due to aggressive pricing strategies that have prioritized market share over margin. The falling prices have forced many competitors to exit or re-focus. Despite this, many are still vying to be the number two.
This development has caused a major change in the investment trends. In our report, we will show that investment, as well as company formation trends, peaked at 2015. More importantly, we will show that the investment focus shifted from hardware to non-hardware aspects. This is consistent with the trend to pivot towards the software, analytics and enterprise segments.
We will provide detailed profiles of the key hardware and software firms working on drones and related components. We will benchmark the price and performance (battery size, range, size, etc) for drones covering the spectrum from toys to professional drones. We will provide detailed year-on-year investment figures, segmenting it by hardware vs. non-hardware. We will focus on key emerging software trends and opportunities and highlight specialized hardware opportunities such as sensors. We then consider the evolution of the legislation whilst highlight some trends towards BVLS autonomous mobility.
In our application assessment, we focus on two major emerging commercial use cases: agricultural and logistics/delivery. Finally, we provide our short as well as long-term market forecasts covering consumer as well as professional drones.
See New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038 for more information.
This over-arching and master report covers both existing as well as emerging applications. Indeed, it provides twenty-year forecasts in value and units numbers for 46 categories, covering both traditional and emerging robotic and drone technologies. More specifically, we cover robotic arms( industrial, collaborative, surgical 3D printing, dairy farming); autonomous robotic cleaning and mowing ( home, commercial, pool cleaners and lawn mowers), autonomous commercial robots (retail and security) agricultural robots (level 3, 4, and 5 autonomous tractors, agrobots, intelligent robotic implements, fresh fruit harvesting, etc.), logistics (AGV/AGC, AMRs, forklifts, last mile delivery, long-haul, trucks, etc.), drones (consumer, prosumer and professional), and beyond.
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Sensors Europe 2019 External Link on 10 - 11 Apr 2019 at Estrel Convention Center, Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.
Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh

Authored By: Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh

Research Director

Posted on: February 20th 2018