3 ways ABB sees AI driving robotics innovation

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ABB says its robotics story began in 1974 with what it calls the “sale of the world’s first business, all-electric robotic, the IRB 6.” In 2024, 50 years later, ABB’s robotics portfolio is stronger than ever with new industrial robotic arms, collaborative robotic arms, and autonomous cell robots.

ABB might be celebrating 50 years of robotic innovation all through 2024. Marc Segura, president of ABB Robotics, helps just do that by figuring out the next three drivers of robotics-driven AI options in 2024 and past.

Editor’s Notice: the next textual content has been republished from ABB with its permission.

“The approaching yr will see a rising give attention to the essential position of AI,” mentioned Segura. “From cell robots and cobots, to enabling new robotic purposes in new sectors and creating new alternatives for folks to study and develop, these new frontiers for AI are redefining the way forward for industrial robotics.”

ABB’s 3DQI high quality inspection cell can detect defects lower than half the width of a human hair. | Credit score: ABB

1. AI will drive new ranges of autonomy in robotic purposes

Accelerating progress in AI is redefining what is feasible with industrial robotics. AI is enhancing every part from robots’ skill to grip, decide and place in addition to their skill to map and navigate by dynamic environments. From cell robots to cobots and past, AI is giving robots unprecedented ranges of velocity, accuracy, and payload carrying skill, enabling them to tackle extra duties in settings like versatile factories, warehouses, logistics facilities and laboratories.

“AI-enabled cell robots can rework sectors like discrete manufacturing, logistics and laboratories,” mentioned Segura. “Robots outfitted with ABB’s new Visible Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visible SLAM) know-how, for instance, have superior mapping and navigation expertise, granting new ranges of autonomy, whereas enormously decreasing the infrastructure wanted by earlier generations of guided robots. This paves the way in which for a shift from linear manufacturing strains to dynamic networks, creating important efficiencies and taking up extra uninteresting, soiled and harmful duties, to allow employees to take up extra rewarding jobs.”

2. AI will see robots enter new sectors

The potential supplied by AI-enabled robotics is influencing sectors far past manufacturing. In 2024, these applied sciences are anticipated to convey substantial effectivity enhancements to extra dynamic environments, comparable to healthcare and life sciences, in addition to retail. One other instance is the development trade, the place AI-powered robotics could make a fabric contribution to boosting productiveness, enhancing security and sustainable building practices whereas spurring development.

“The development trade is a good instance of a sector the place AI-powered robots will show transformative, delivering actual worth by addressing lots of the points dealing with the trade at the moment, together with employee shortages, issues of safety and stagnant productiveness,” mentioned Segura. “Talents comparable to enhanced recognition and decision-making supplied by AI, coupled with advances in collaborative robots allow protected deployment alongside employees. These advances additionally allow robots to carry out key duties comparable to bricklaying, modular meeting and 3D printing with better precision and velocity, all whereas contributing to extra sustainable building by decreasing emissions, comparable to concrete mixing on website, to decreasing the necessity to transport supplies throughout far distances with on-site meeting.”

3. AI will provide new alternatives for schooling and dealing with robots

The advances being made in AI and robotics is critical for coaching and schooling, closing the automation expertise hole and making robots extra accessible to extra folks and companies. With AI making programming simpler, by lead-through and even pure language, schooling can shift extra in direction of how robots can help people extra successfully, relatively than simply instructing programming expertise. This transition will make robots extra approachable and produce them to a wider viewers, resulting in new job prospects whereas serving to alleviate labor and expertise shortages.

“A scarcity of individuals with the talents wanted to program and help robots has lengthy been a hurdle to the uptake of robotic automation, particularly in small to medium sized manufacturing corporations,” mentioned Segura. “We are going to see this more and more being overcome as advances in generative AI decrease the boundaries to automation and develop the main focus of schooling past programming. Developments in pure language programming, powered by AI during which employees can verbally instruct a robotic in its activity, will create a brand new dynamic in human-robot interactions.”


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