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Unveiling the Future: Four Bold Predictions for Robotics and Automation in 2024

by Anna

As we bid farewell to the transformative year of 2023, which witnessed the ascendancy of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the anticipation for what lies ahead in the realm of robotics and automation in 2024 is palpable. Anders Billesø Beck, VP of strategy and innovation at Universal Robots, presents four forward-looking predictions that promise to shape the landscape of technological innovation in the coming year.

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1) AI’s Revolutionary Impact on Robotics and Automation:

Anders Billesø Beck forecasts that 2024 will usher in a new era of development in robotics and automation, propelled by the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI). Describing AI as a catalyst for making software development cheaper, faster, and more effective, Beck envisions a future where software developers leverage AI to create highly customized and optimized solutions for a myriad of tasks and challenges. He likens the impact of AI to bringing two horses and a plough to a process that sometimes felt like digging with a shovel. While acknowledging the revolutionary potential of AI, Beck emphasizes that automation expertise will continue to be a scarce and valuable resource in this era of AI-driven manufacturing.

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2) Collaborative Innovation through Robotics Software:

In the evolving landscape of robotics, Beck emphasizes the critical role played by robotics software, acting as the digital connective tissue that binds users to mechanical counterparts. Beck envisions 2024 as a year marked by developments in robotics software that foster a new dimension of collaboration, connecting individuals who utilize robots. The vision includes the creation of a world where existing software assets—components, interfaces, and algorithms—are shared and reused across multiple applications, streamlining innovation and reducing time-to-market. This collaborative approach, exemplified by the UR+ partner ecosystem, holds the promise of significant advancements in the field of robotics.

3) The Convergence of IT and OT in Manufacturing:

The future of manufacturing, as Beck sees it, is intricately tied to the integration of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), fueled by the utilization of data for innovation and efficiency. Beck highlights the manufacturing industry’s pioneering role in adopting cloud-based software services, signaling a trend that is set to grow in 2024. He dispels the outdated notion of the cloud as a mere data collector and backup function, emphasizing its transformative potential when connecting humans and machines. This integration, Beck argues, simplifies complex processes and facilitates smarter decision-making, offering manufacturers significant benefits such as remote access to data, quick issue responses, and continuous automation improvement.

4) Logistics Takes Center Stage in Robotic Evolution:

Beck points to logistics as a focal point for the burgeoning growth in robot shipments, particularly collaborative robots (cobots), projected to experience a remarkable 46% CAGR for 2023-2027. In a world grappling with labor shortages, globalization, and complex supply chains, Beck envisions logistics, warehouse, and distribution centers turning to automation in 2024 for faster and more accurate services. He shares a success story of a logistics company that revolutionized its fulfillment center with collaborative robots, resulting in a 500% surge in efficiency and order accuracy, particularly during peak periods like Black Friday. Robots and data utilization, according to Beck, are poised to revolutionize the entire logistics value chain, from incoming packages to outbound logistics.

As the pace of development in robotics continues its impressive trajectory, Anders Billesø Beck eagerly anticipates another year of groundbreaking progress in 2024. These predictions offer a glimpse into the dynamic future where AI, collaborative innovation, IT/OT integration, and logistics automation converge to shape a new era in robotics and automation.

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