Most commentators and onlookers of the robotics industry hear of and understand the advertised value proposition of collaborative robots.
Collaborative robots or cobots are smaller, more dexterous industrial robotic arms that open the possibility between human and machine collaboration without the need for complex programming or external safety infrastructure.
ABI Research says collaborative systems are not a revolution in robotics but are instead a parallel technology that has some advantages over traditional industrial arms, and some disadvantages.
ABI Research projects that collaborative robot arms to reach US$5.8 billion in annual revenue by 2027, with US$2 billion of that dedicated to the automotive and automotive components manufacturing space. There are additional sources of revenue related to software and End of Arm Tooling (EOAT), and ABI Research also notes that collaborative systems will increasingly become indistinguishable from conventional industrial robotic arms, potentially opening the market to a much higher valuation.
ABI Research suggests not to think of collaborative robotics as a replacement for industrial robots, but as a parallel technology development that will eventually converge. Innovations like advanced machine vision, improved localization, haptic sensors, and superior mechatronics are all allowing cobots to become faster without neglecting safety. Strategic advances in 5G, cloud robotics, and edge-enabled AI will make the performance of multiple collaborative systems superior. “This will gradually allow for the development of cobots that have the advantages of industrial robotic arms, while retaining the benefits of current collaborative systems, including ease of use, ROI, re-programmability, low footprint, and flexibility,” Rian Whitton, Senior Analyst at ABI Research concludes.