Will a robot take my job? This is one of the most googled questions of late. The fear is nothing new. Just like in the late 1790s with the invention of the cotton gin, or the invention of the car in the 19th century, all innovations bring fear. What is important to remember though, is that most innovations are made with a single goal in mind: to help humans. Robots are no different, they are here to make us more efficient and keep us safe in the workplace.
Robots and AI have created a demand for new skills, modifying existing jobs. These technologies have also created new openings that the world had not considered before. For example, in the port of Long Beach California, the crane operators got promoted to the control room once the terminal was fully automated. Again, in Tucson Arizona, truck drivers can apply for test-driver roles in autonomous driving companies requiring their expertise and skills to train models in common sense in order to make self-driving trucks a reality.
To put it bluntly, the jobs that AI and robots are replacing are the most repetitive, boring, dangerous, and dirty. We might not know what is coming for sure, but we are confident of one thing: Robots are here to help us!
So, what should I do if I want robotics in my business?
First, you need to identify your business goals and needs. What is that process that you would like to improve? What is your ultimate goal with this process? Do you want to improve the A process without comprising the B? What are your constraints (money, time, environment, etc.)?
Just like Apps, there is a robot for everything. You just need to know what the business goals are so you can choose the best robot.
For example, let’s imagine that a mining manager is after improvements in safety for their mine and dreams to keep their staff away from hazards. Most importantly, they do not want to compromise inspection time and other mining processes. For that, an autonomous robot with an integrated camera could be the best solution. An autonomous robot can move around the area by itself, even better if it uses legged movement as it won’t get stuck in complex environments. With a robot that can quickly and safely inspect for hazards in an area, the manager can create a safe distance between staff and potential hazards.
What’s next then?
Well, once you have your needs and goals defined. It is just a matter of researching for the tech that aligns best. It doesn’t sound easy, but let me give you some examples you can use as a start.
Picture a macadamia farm manager who desires to improve their facility by increasing the capacity and accuracy during the sorting process. An AI system integration can be what they are looking for. These systems’ components consist of Artificial Intelligence or Neural Network, a Control System, and a Human-Machine Interface (HMI). The AI is trained to detect the difference between good nuts and those that are faulty. Consequently, the control system receives the decision from the AI, and ejects any faulty nuts, ensuring a high-quality batch. The control system can also manage the speed of conveyors, actuators’ response time, and share data to the screen. Lastly, the HMI displays the information given by the control system in an easily understandable and interactive way.
What about less industrial needs?
So far, I have talked about industrial applications, such as mining and farming. But, what about more common tasks? Let’s say the service industry. Well, we can see robots slowly getting introduced as waiters and staff in airports. There is a type of autonomous robot that has a voice and cruises through airports guiding passengers between terminals. The same type is also being used as wait staff in some restaurants to show customers to their table, take their order, and even recommend dishes to try!
Now, not every robot needs to be autonomously moving around. If we still use the airport as an example, we find the stationary type of robot. You might have come across one when checking in or looking for the service desk. These robots use a display to communicate with humans. They can check you in and help you weigh your luggage, and can even give you the latest flight information as they are all interconnected.
With exponential applications, robots are here to stay.
Robots are here to stay but fear not, they are not taking our jobs. No, they are helping us improve and stay safe in the workplace. The uses for robots are immense and will only continue growing from now. To succeed in the future, it’s time to define the needs and goals of your business and find the best way to implement robotics into your processes.
Don’t be afraid to take the leap.