Back to top

The indispensable source for professionals who create, implement and service technology solutions for entrepreneurs to enterprise.

In the Zone

Think robotics is out of your league? Think again

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 10/06/2021
Blog Category: advanced-technologies

Think robots are limited to auto factories and therefore out of reach? Think again. Your next iced caramel mocha latte could come from a robotic barista.

Robot barista

Your coffee is ready

For sure, automakers are big users of robotics. But robots are also being used in a wide range of activities and by many industries. These include healthcare, food and beverages, logistics, the military, retail. Given current labor shortages, more are likely to emerge.

And if you’re just getting started with robotics, there’s plenty of help on tap.

Big & fast-growing

The overall robotics market is big and growing fast. Last year, sales of all robotics worldwide totaled $27.7 billion, according to Mordor Intelligence.

Looking ahead, Mordor expects global robotics sales to hit $74.1 billion by 2026. That’s a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5%.

The Covid-19 pandemic has actually increased demand for certain robots. One vendor, UBTech, now offers a disinfecting robot that uses ultraviolet light to clean surfaces and the air by deactivating the genetic material of harmful pathogens. The robot is already being used by the State of Delaware’s education department, among others.

Different strokes

Everyone’s seen pictures of the arm-shaped robots used in factories. But that’s just the tip of a big iceberg. Also available are robots for handling silicon wafers, autonomous navigation, customer service, materials handling, even personal use.

There are also autonomous mobile robots that move around and collect information with sensors and cameras. “Cobots” that share spaces with human workers. And humanoid robots that take human-like forms and perform functions such as help with directions.

Increasingly, robots are interacting directly with people. Intel Mexico and El Palacio de Hierro, an upscale retailer in Mexico City, recently unveiled a robotic store assistant. Based on Intel technology, the robot roams up and down the store aisles to answer shoppers’ questions. 

Intel robot store assistant

Intel's robotic store assistant

The Intel retail robot also has an antibacterial-coated touchscreen in the middle of its body that a shopper can use to select products. The robot can then either direct the shopper to the relevant section of the store or connect them with a human sales specialist.

Get expert help

If all that sounds exciting, you can get expert help from Intel. The company is making big investments in robotics and related technologies, and it’s eager to work with partners.

Here’s just some of what Intel offers you for robotics:

> Real-time systems: Both hardware and reference system‒level software for developing real-time applications for robotics solutions

> AI: Machine learning, inference and computer vision tech for robots

> Industrial-grade computing: Ruggedized computers that can withstand hazardous conditions and extreme temperatures

> Hardware: Including IoT processors, FPGAs and network communications tech

> Software development tools: Including the Intel Edge Software Hub, Intel’s distribution of the OpenVINO toolkit, and the Intel DevCloud

> PLCs: Both traditional and soft programmable logic controllers that are commonly used in robotics and industrial automation applications

Learn how to get into the robotics game. And remember to tip your barista!


Back to top