The field of robotics is changing, and while the humanoid robotics of science fiction are still in development, but enterprise robotics are being rapidly adopted.
Elon Musk is one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in America, having been at the forefront of technology revolutions related to online payment systems (PayPal), space travel (SpaceX), automobiles (Tesla), solar power (SolarCity), high speed transportation (Hyperloop), and artificial intelligence (OpenAI). Those who work for Musk enjoy immense funding for some of the most interesting and challenging research projects being done in the world (and usually do okay on stock options, to boot!).
One can imagine, then, that it takes a pretty special opportunity to pry talent away from a Musk operation. For a few prominent researchers, that opportunity seems to be the promise of enterprise robotics.
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that Pieter Abbeel, Peter Chen, and Rocky Duan were leaving Musk’s OpenAI to start a new company — Embodied Intelligence. Embodied Intelligence, or EI, will focus on artificial intelligence, or AI, for robots. More specifically, they will seek to advance “an algorithmic model called reinforcement learning — a way for machines to learn tasks by extreme trial and error.”
Abbeel et al are hardly alone in working at the nexus of AI and robotics. Rather, their “new company is part of a much wider effort to create A.I. that allows robots to learn. Researchers in places like Google, Brown University, and Carnegie Mellon are doing similar work, as are existing start-ups like Micropsi and Prowler.io.”
AI, though, is not the sole reason that enterprises perceive robotics to be rapidly increasing in value. Rather, many other recent technological breakthroughs are making the integration of robots of various shapes and sizes into traditional business processes more effective, for example:
In combination, these developments have propelled the functionality and reliability of robots to new heights.
Remember that big clunky toy robot you got as a kid for Christmas? It was so exciting! It walked! Maybe even spit out a few catchphrases! How quaint…
Today’s robots play a critical role in industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare, and from food services to retail: “hospitals are using robots to assist in surgery, retail stores are testing robots to take inventory, and warehouses are using robots help sort packages.”
As crazy as it sounds, then, Abbeel and his colleagues may just be on to something in leaving a Musk-led organization to start a robotics firm. It’s a bit of a risk, but one that seems likely to reap significant rewards. What about you? Is your business ready to reap the rewards being generated by the rising value proposition of enterprise robotics? Let Valence help you with the answer. Enterprise robotic shipments are expected to nearly triple between 2015 and 2021, so now is the time to formulate a strategy for integrating these force maximizers into your operations…before your competitors take advantage of these new technologies themselves.