The adoption of service robots has become increasingly popular as it offers enormous advantages in enhancing productivity, efficiency, and safety. The emergence of delivery and logistics robots, cleaning and disinfection robots, social robots, agricultural robots, kitchen and restaurant robots, and underwater robots clearly indicates the service robots' revolution in professional and personal domains. In addition, the statistics speak in its favor.
The global market for service robots is projected to reach $70.1 billion by 2032
According to World Robotics 2021 Service Robot reports, the global market for professional service robots reached 6.7 billion US dollars, up 12% from 2020. This research article aims to take a deep dive into the top application trends, types of service robots available in the market, and the market players to watch out for in the coming years. Read on.
Top application trends of emerging service robotics
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) report suggests the pandemic was one of the major driving factors behind the application of these service robotics trends. The list of top five application trends includes
- Delivery Robots - Demand grew by 11%
- Cleaning and disinfection robots - 50+ companies implemented them after the pandemic
- Medical and rehabilitation robots - Individual support providers
- Social robots - Telepresence robots, particularly for remote learning during the pandemic
- Automated robots in restaurants - Staff support and reduce personal contact
Types of service robots
Unlike traditional industrial robots, service robots are primarily designed to support people in their daily lives.
Service robots in delivery and logistics
Automating warehousing and logistics chains is a market that is proliferating. In particular, mobile robots, autonomous vehicles, and drones that can automate movement-based tasks. Logistic and delivery robots have a bright future due to their relatively low technical complexity and huge demand. They are expected to have a CAGR of 21% in the upcoming decade as one of the dominant applications of service robots.
Cleaning and disinfection robots
The second-largest application is the cleaning and disinfection robots, classified as household service robotics or professional cleaning robotics. Based on the cleaning methods, they can also be differentiated as physical cleaning (using brushes) or non-physical cleaning (using sprays and/or UV lights). Cleaning robots have gained a lot of momentum and funding (especially for start-ups) over the last two years, thanks to COVID, especially in their professional applications. Proven Robotics anticipates rapid growth in professional cleaning robots in the coming decade.
Customer service robots
Customer service robots are service bots designed to interact with customers. These robots, which come in humanoid and non-humanoid forms, automate many of the most basic customer service tasks. Like all robots, their value is derived from labor savings, efficiency, and uptime. The majority of customer service robots help customers find an item or complete a task. They are used to guide customers around a store in the retail industry and the hospitality industry. Customer service robots can be found in a variety of settings, including banks, shopping malls, and family entertainment centers. Their ability to interact with customers and collect data will continue to improve, making them an increasingly regular part of the customer service process.
Social robots are high-level artificial intelligence (AI) systems embedded in physical entities. Hospitality and medical treatments are two of the most common applications for social robots. Social robots can be used to guide and inform people. Airports and hotel foyers are typical locations for social robots, which we have previously covered in the customer service robot section. Aside from the hospitality industry, another important application for social robots is treating people with cognitive impairment (e.g., autism), where robots can replace traditional physiotherapists and provide emotional and educational support.
Telepresence robots have been around for more than a decade. Still, as the world reshapes work and attitudes toward remote participation change, this technology may finally be ready to break out of its niche user base and become mainstream. Remote education or virtual conference has become a phenomenon in the pandemic era, driving the demand for advanced telepresence robots, particularly in education, healthcare, and office spaces.
Unlike logistics and delivery robots, which generally work in well-controlled environments, and social robots which typically work in offices, agricultural robots primarily work on farmland with limited infrastructure, rugged terrain, and unpredictable weather. Agricultural robots face several technical challenges due to these environmental factors. Meanwhile, because agriculture is a low-margin industry, the agricultural robot's high upfront costs may be another barrier to market adoption.
Service robots: Market dominators
Pepper is an interaction master designed to perceive emotions and form empathetic connections with users, contributing significantly to a plethora of industries. From serving as an airport concierge to a hospital assistant, the robot can don a multitude of roles. Pepper is perfect for welcoming guests with a warm "Hello, how may I help you?". Its face recognition ensures that your guests are never left unattended, with a touch screen at their disposal for information, registration, or directional details. Pepper can smoothly integrate with your bank's applications allowing users access to various services. It can assist customers with form-filling, providing information on products and services while entertaining those who wait to be served.
Proven Robotics offers a wide range of premium delivery robots that can be customized according to your business needs. From BellaBot, KettBot, HolaBot, and PuduBot, Proven Robotics's bots are equipped with autonomous navigation software, and they can accurately map their surroundings and maneuver through them without any hassle. These bots can be a surprising addition to the existing human staff in hotels to enhance the customers' dining experience.
Puductor 2 is a UV disinfection robot that can raise the sanitary levels of indoor environments several notches while actively eliminating the possibility of cross-infection. Its ≤10µm dry disinfectant particles ensure complete contact with microorganisms. It also provides nearly 100% coverage as whole-room disinfection allows thorough sanitization of difficult-to-reach places.
Xenex disinfectant robots have proven to be one of the most effective in the most demanding healthcare environments, with over 31 million users. They are ideally suited for disinfecting hospitality, transportation, and other settings to deactivate bacteria, spores, and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
Double 3, the new generation telepresence robot, features a click-to-drive interface, obstacle avoidance, and pan/tilt/zoom video, all of which contribute to a truly immersive remote experience that is still intuitive to use. The most notable upgrade in Double is the new mixed reality overlays.
In the history of robots, most of the debate around service robots has been centered on them stealing human jobs. However, the discussion has now shifted to the potential of service robots to mitigate the combined pressure of skyrocketing costs, aging populations in industrialized countries, a shortage of qualified workers, and the need to improve the quality of services and results continuously. Market surveys about the potential of service robots have shed some light on the advantages such machines have as they continually enter our social spaces and improve our quality of life.