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Robotics

Robotics

June 2017

Discover the next frontier of technological achievement and invest in a theme affecting all aspects of everyday life

Significant advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, such as the emergence of deep learning algorithms, are revolutionising robotics and automation technologies. Robots are no longer confined to the factory floor – they are becoming part of our day-to-day lives.
 
Our Robotics strategy aims to capture opportunities in three main areas. In industrial automation, companies are building new generations of smart robots to support industrial processes. Robotic solutions are increasingly aimed at consumer and services applications that help with people’s everyday lives. The growth of enabling technologies will provide robots with the ability to communicate and respond to situations with a greater level of intelligence.

Industrial automation

This is a fast-growing and global market. Robots are already used extensively in Japanese and European industries, but as they become cheaper, smarter and more energy-efficient, countries such as China and the United States will increasingly deploy robots to improve productivity and reduce labour costs.
Companies are building new generation of smart robots to support industrial processes 
robots efficiency increase
Source: SG Cross Asset Research Equity, 2014
In 2025, countries such as South Korea are expected to reduce their manufacturing costs by up to a third by using robots1.

The revolutionary manner in which industrial robots, such as the new generation of automated ‘Cobots’, can collaborate with human workers is a result of technological improvements and enabling sensors that increase safety. This, coupled with increased affordability, leads us to anticipate a rapid expansion in the use of robots by smaller companies as well as larger firms.

Consumer & services applications

Robots are fast becoming a part of our day-to-day lives in places as diverse as homes, factories and hospitals. Unmanned aerial vehicles, with automated commercial drones, are benefiting from an improving regulatory environment. 
Robots assisting in the operating theatre 
300 surgical procedures
Source: da Vinci surgery, 2015


The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates civil aviation in the US, is phasing in the commercial use of drones after giving out almost 4,000 exemptions to restriction between late 2014 and March 2016 alone2. Meanwhile, virtually all robotics developers – from innovative start-ups to industry leaders – are working on new medical applications.

Robots are being developed to assist in the operating theatre, monitor vulnerable patients in their homes and help stroke patients walk again through the use of robotic exoskeletons.

Enabling technologies

Innovation is helping robots to carry out complex processes. Machine vision systems equip robots with the eyes (cameras) and the brains (software and sensors) they need to perceive their environment and become autonomous.

Due to accelerating demand for applications such as medical imaging and intelligent traffic surveillance, the machine vision market is expected achieve growth of over 10 per cent annually and be worth an estimated USD 10 billion by 20203
 The robot revolution gathers pace
the robot revolution gathers space
Source: International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China International Capital Corp (CICC) research


These technologies are helping to ensure robotics products are of high quality, as well as helping them meet safety standards and increase productivity. Growth in enabling technologies is being further stimulated by robotics development programmes. In 2014 the European Commission launched the SPARC Robotics initiative – the world's largest civilian robotics programme – which is injecting USD 750 million to encourage the development of robotic applications across a variety of industries.

In addition, the private European Robotics Association has pledged over USD 2 billion4 to ensure the continual development of future applications, such as sensors for driverless cars.

Robotics – the future of technology

Because of its ability to increase productivity, reduce costs and help solve the challenges linked to an increasingly elderly population, the robotics sector is set to grow significantly faster than the broader economy over the coming years.