While many experts believe we are on the precipice of a robotics revolution, robots have in fact existed for over 2,000 years. The first robot was a steam-powered pigeon, which was created by ancient Greek mathematician Archytas and was designed to study how birds fly.
Although the concept has existed for some time, the types of robots that exist today are far more complex then Archytas’s original creation. This is in terms of both the design and their purpose. For example, 70 per cent of industrial robots are reportedly used in the automotive, electrical and machinery industry. The science fiction representations of robots have been known to spark fear among the public but, with improved features and technological advancements, it appears more businesses are in fact investing in the robotics market.
In 2016, North America ordered 24,606 robots alone. Costing $1.9 billion, the investment was a ten per cent growth from the figures reported in 2015 and the demand doesn’t appear to be disappearing. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has forecasted that the number of robots to be deployed worldwide will increase to 2.6 billion units by 2019.
One of the biggest drivers influencing the demands for robots is the internet. E-commerce retailers like Amazon are well known for their automated distribution centres, which deliver products safely and efficiently to customers. In fact, Slice Intelligence reported that, in 2016, 43 per cent of all online retail sales in the US went through Amazon. Accounting for the largest market share with four million online purchases, it’s not difficult to see why more logistics companies are turning to robotics to retain a competitive edge.