Boston Dynamics has developed an extremely advanced, bipedal robot, that can move, walk, run and jump on two legs with extreme precision, alongside completing difficult parkour courses with the ease of an expert gymnast but none of the human limitations. Check out Atlas on YouTube, in case you have not seen the robot in action already.
Atlas, Asimo, Kengoro and a select few others like these acrobatic, human-like and intelligent robots are a sign of the future in every sense of the word. They are at this time, little more than prototypes, being used to iron out the kinks in their design, but judging by what engineers are already capable of doing with them, perfecting their design for real life application may not be that far away anymore. Read on as we delve into the world of advanced robotics.
What Would be the Use of Advanced Robots in the Real World?
Everything from learning the complex, acrobatic moves, to incorporating advanced facial and audio recognition technology may seem somewhat excessive, but the truth is far from it. The general idea is to make these robots overcome the shortcomings which make them unusable in real life scenarios.
The robots of the future must be capable of independent, complex locomotion, proper communication and intelligent decision making in order to be of any help, which is precisely what every one of the advanced projects on robotics engineering is all about.
As to what exactly those uses can be is not really hard to figure out, since robotics in its early stages is already being used in multiple scenarios.
Using Robots in Agriculture: Drones and Grading Robots
Large tracts of agricultural land take a lot of time and work to be monitored and maintained manually, which in turn, affects productivity and profit margins. Thanks to the use of advanced drones, that is no longer an issue for farmers with acres of land to manage. Although the drones cannot exactly farm, it makes monitoring the land, watering the crops, and applying pesticides that much easier, safer, faster and cheaper. Modern drone operating systems have machine learning capabilities, which means that they can even be programmed to take regular actions on their own, or suggest some to their handlers.
The agricultural crop-grading robots on the other hand, do not even look like anything more than traditional machines. Deceptive in their appearance as they may be, crop grading robots use a combination of powerful cameras, high-intensity lights and computational hardware to sort rice, wheat, seeds and pulses into different grades, thus bringing automation to agriculture.
These can sort and grade hundreds of grains per second, although the actual number depends on the model used. However, it’s the intelligent learning and decision-making capabilities of these machines that make them particularly special, since they really do have to make hundreds of different decisions per second, based on the data that they have been given access to.
Use of Robots in Defense
Perhaps the fact that almost everything ever invented has been weaponized in some way or another is a cause for concern in robotics as well. On the brighter side of things, modern robotics have provided the armed forces with the ability to detect and defuse bombs from afar, aid in rescue operations, operate unmanned vehicles (drones), and reduce casualties in a various number of other ways.
The British military on the other hand, is in the process of developing SAPIENT. SAPIENT is an artificially intelligent software in testing that is specifically created to flag danger zones, suggest battlefield strategies, and provide advanced guidance to British troops during warfare.
The Growing Scope of Opportunities for Tech Students and Professionals in Robotics and Intelligent Automation
As should be expected from a field of work that’s being so thoroughly explored across various industries, the employment and growth opportunities are tremendous in robotics. To make, improve and innovate, techies with the right knowledge, experience and education can now earn a lot more than what they would have earned even a few years ago. For example, in 2017, the average salary for engineers working in the autonomous vehicle segment in San Francisco was nearly $295,000 per year, and that was two years ago. That’s more than four times what the national average pay was in 2017 for regular automotive engineers.
On the other hand, the job is more complex than traditional automotive engineering, which means that tech professionals working in autonomous car projects require knowledge from multiple different fields of technology. Kettering University has carefully designed an online electrical and computer engineering degree course for IT professionals that bridges the knowledge gap between the separate fields. Focusing on app development, dynamic system design for autonomous software, advanced robotics, machine learning and electrical engineering among others, the program could help the growing autonomous vehicle industry find the eligible professionals with the right knowledge that it is looking for so desperately at the moment.
A Brief Peek into the Future: What More Can We Expect?
What we are already seeing is going to become more enhanced for sure, but can we see robotics applied in more areas and ways than just what is happening now? The answer is a yes, and the following is a peek at the most likely future implementations of intelligent automation in the near future.
Surgical Robots – Surgical robots have been there for a long time now, but the upcoming generation of automated, medical robots will be intelligent enough to completely eliminate the human error factor.
Improved Cybersecurity – If computer programs became more aware of the dangers that hackers pose, it could mean a huge decrease in cybercrime.
Automated Cars – This one’s not as much in the future, as it is already in our present world, because fleets of autonomous vehicles are making test rounds around the world even today, while the autonomous Audi A8 is available in Europe right now. However, most of us will have to wait for a while before the design can be streamlined for the consumer market.
There is certainly a lot more that we could not include, but what has been discussed should be enough to provide the reader with an idea of how radically robotic innovations are already changing the world. If you were ever interested in robots, now would be the best time to consider a possible change of career by getting an online electrical and computer engineering degree.