Robots are being used across the various domains of manufacturing, services, healthcare/medical, defense, and space. Robotics was initially introduced for dirty, dull, and dangerous tasks.
Today, robotics are used in a much wider set of applications, and a key factor is to empower people in their daily lives across work, leisure, and domestic tasks.
Three factors drive the adoption of robots:
i) improved productivity in the increasingly competitive international environment;
ii) improved quality of life in the presence of a significantly aging society; and
iii) removing first responders and soldiers from the immediate danger/action.
Economic growth, quality of life, and safety of our first responders continue to be key drivers for the adoption of robots.
To fully evaluate the potential of using robotics across the set of available applications, a group of more than 160 people came together in five workshops to identify: i) business/application drivers; ii) the current set of gaps to provide solutions to end-users; and iii) R&D priorities to enable delivery on the business drivers.
The meetings were topical across manufacturing, healthcare/medical robotics, service robotics, defense, and space. The workshops took place during the second half of 2012.
At each workshop, there was a mixture present of industry users, academic researchers, and government program managers to ensure a broader coverage of the topics discussed. Robotics is one of a few technologies capable of near-term building new companies, creating new jobs, and addressing a number of issues ofnational importance.