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April 2017

Robotics in our daily life

The future in which robots have taken over simple daily activities is a lot closer than most people realize.

Robotics and automation hold the promise to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. That future is a lot closer than it seems, says Peter Lingen, manager of the Pictet-Robotics fund. In this article, Mr. Lingen depicts an ordinary day in the (imaginary) life of a software developer.

7:30 AM

Magnus Andersson is awakened by his favorite song played on his Google Home device. At the same time the lighting is automatically dimmed and the latest weather forecast is read out to him: “-15 °C and heavy snow falls, drive carefully”. It is winter and the city where Magnus lives is covered with a thick layer of snow. Magnus checks the Volvo On Call app on his Google Nexus phone to make sure his car is already warming up. Alphabet, the Google holding company, has developed the Android operating system.

8:15 AM

As Magnus is driving to work, a child runs out in front of his car. Thanks to the Pilot Assist system and the latest Mobileye-technology, his vehicle comes to a halt without Magnus having to intervene. Mobileye has developed the EyeQ technology used for motion detection in ADAS applications.

11:15 AM

In the future, cars will be assembled almost entirely by robots

Magnus arrives safely at Volvo Cars in Torslanda, Sweden, where he is working on designing a new factory layout using a software system developed by electronics company Siemens. Thanks to this system, Magnus can simulate production processes automated through robots. He can even simulate the complete production line using a mock-up of the new car model that is being worked on. The factory floor can be occupied by industrial robots made by ABB, Dürr, Fanuc, Kuka.

3:00 PM

At the end of the afternoon, Magnus will be picking up his wife from the hospital where she had to undergo surgery. The procedure was carried out using a Da Vinci robot developed by Intuitive Surgical, to make surgery minimally invasive. Her recovery time was significantly shorter compared with traditional surgery, one of the benefits of using the Da Vinci robot. Magnus realizes he has forgotten to clean the living room. To make sure their house is clean when he and his wife return home, he activates his iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner remotely. Magnus uses his Google Nexus phone to switch on the crock pot with the food he had prepared last night.

5:45 PM

When the Anderssons arrive home, their living room is perfectly clean and they are welcomed by the aroma of a hot meal. Beforehand, Magnus has turned up the Nestthermostat using his smartphone; it is now pleasantly warm at home. In a few weeks’ time, he will be able to pick up his new Google Pixel smartphone. Thanks to the chips produced by Qualcomm his new phone will be a lot faster and more powerful than his current one. A big step toward the time when Google’s Digital Assistant will manage all appliances in a household, enabling it to run itself quasi-autonomously.

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