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2023 Trend Retrospection & 2024 Forecast

2023 Trend Retrospection & 2024 Forecast

Published on
February 1, 2024

In 2023 we pinpointed 4 trends likely to grow. This January, we’re seeing what changed, and what our new predictions for 2024 are.

It’s time for Inbolt’s 2023 trend retrospection.

In 2023 we pinpointed 4 trends likely to grow: Cobots, RaaS, Tech Investments, and the interplay between an Ageing Population and Automation. This January, we’re seeing what changed, and what our new predictions for 2024 are.

2023 Trends in Retrospect:

Cobots:

  • 2023 Recap: Cobots emerged as the go-to for businesses dipping their toes in the automation pool—versatile, user-friendly, and cost-effective.
  • 2024 Perspective: Their appeal endures. Cobots continue to be the preferred choice for companies prioritizing adaptability and ease of use in automation solutions.

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/collaborative-robots-market

RaaS (Robotics as a Service):

  • 2023 Recap: RaaS (Robotics as a Service) was a game-changer, especially for SMBs who found robots too pricey to own, by offering a flexible, pay-as-you-go model.
  • 2024 Perspective: RaaS continues to grow, favored for its scalability and cost-effectiveness.

Investment in Tech:

  • 2023 Recap: Investments soared in AI, robotics, and green technologies, driven by strong growth forecasts.
  • 2024 Perspective: The momentum continues, underlining their central role in driving forward industry and innovation.

Ageing Population and Automation:

  • 2023 Recap: The synergy between an ageing workforce and the rise of automation led to increased adoption of robots.
  • 2024 Perspective: This trend is not just persisting; it's accelerating. As the global workforce continues to age, automation is becoming an indispensable solution to fill the emerging labor gaps.

What’s New in 2024:

Advancements in Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs):

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/autonomous-mobile-robot-amr-market-growth-/

AMRs are stepping up in more and more unstructured environments (farms, etc). With the market expected to reach a staggering $18.9 billion by 2032 (it was at $2.2 billion in 2021), AMRs are proving crucial in addressing labor shortages and enhancing operational productivity.

Jamie Mottershead, technical director art Renovotec, said that challenging market conditions for most sectors mean that businesses are continuing to look for constant evolution of a product, and AMRs can provide this by improving productivity, accuracy and uptime. Combine that with the flexibility and scalability that AMRs provide, then you can achieve continuous improvement by implementing complementary solutions as technology continues to evolve.

The integration of cobots with AMRs is a game-changer. Not only that, but people are finding new and improved ways of combining technologies, like suiting up AMRs with cobots to introduce new levels of flexibility and obstacle navigation.

AI Solutions:

Curtsey of Inbolt

The union of AI and robotics is creating solutions that have never been seen before. From software development to robotic automation, AI is introducing levels of intelligence and autonomy that are redefining what robots are capable of. Some areas, like AI-based image recognition, have already gone through vaste improvement over the past year.

Paul Dodd, chief innovation officer at Huboo, said AI has amazing potential in the field of robotics. AI-based image recognition is getting better, and when you put this technology into robots, you’re going to get a machine that is far more capable of adapting to its surroundings.

The real time adaptability and precision of robotic systems thanks to AI is bound to create systems that are more self-reliant and intelligent, increasingly adept at making decisions and solving problems, reducing the need for human intervention.

Not only this, but the recent arrival of Large Language Models (LLMs) have entered the market and are advancing the field of robotics. LLMs are introducing new capabilities for reasoning, decision-making, and interaction. Language is now being integrated into robotics, allowing robots to understand and generate human-like text, enhancing human-robot-environment interactions.

Alongside LLMs, VLMs (Visual Language Models) are also emerging: theses systems can describe images, answer visual questions and detect objects in visual data, allowing robots to perceive and understand their environment in a more human-like manner.

This is part of a large effort to create a new paradigm shift in robots, to make more intelligent and versatile robotic systems.

Cobots:

Curtesy of Inbolt

Cobots are proving to be incredibly versatile, capable of performing a wide range of tasks, and being programmed and re-programmed for new tasks at will. Their minimal upfront investment makes them an attractive option for businesses. With a remarkable increase from 4,500 units in 2022 to an estimated 42,000 by 2030, it's clear that cobots are becoming an integral part of industrial operations.

Not only that, but the integration of machine learning technologies is increasing the potential of cobots, making them smarter and more adaptable. Their adaptive nature is opening up a plethora of applications, making them a valuable asset in 2024 and beyond.

While these three have been consistently brought forth, there are honorary mentions to make: these two trends might not constitute a revolution in 2024, but are certainly worth keeping our eyes and focus on:

Humanoid Robots:

Humanoid robots are transitioning from ‘concepts’ to tangible assets across industries. With the ability to perform tasks with added strength, durability, and endurance, these robots are slowly being considered to integrate environments where human presence is either risky or less efficient, like chemical facilities and dangerous construction sites.

Over the past year, more and more releases have been made, with RoboFab, the world’s first factory for humanoid robots, or Tesla’s Optimus Gen-2, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, Agility Robotic’s Digit, and so on.

These robots are intriguing the masses and are bound to progress beyond trials and into real-life practices sooner or later.

Swarm Robotics and Collective Intelligence:

https://wyss.harvard.edu/technology/programmable-robot-swarms/

Inspired by the collective behavior of social organisms, swarm robotics is set to take center stage in the coming years. This technology’s idea is for groups of robots to operate in tandem, offering potential for applications like search and rescue, environmental monitoring, and industrial automation. The principle of shared intelligence among robots opens up new paradigms for collaborative problem-solving and operational efficiency.

These advancements are going through an exponential growth. AI broke the internet in 2023, but humans are learning how to leverage it in 2024, and it seems obvious that technology isn’t just going to get better at a steady rate. It’s going to get increasingly better, at a faster and faster pace, opening up new frontiers and redefining what we have become accustomed to.


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