The robot industry is dominated by Japanese companies, accounting for more than half of the world’s market share. Japan is now called a robot power. Research and development on robots are advancing rapidly. What are these robotics-related industries in place now? We will introduce why robotics is attracting even more attention, fields that are expected to be used in the future, market trends in the robotics-related industry, etc.
Robotics soars in attention! What is the reason?
Robotics is a research field that started from robotics, which integrates sensors and mechanical mechanisms centered on control engineering. However, due to the sophistication of robots and the widespread use of robots, all scientific research related to robots with a view to non-industrial applications is now called robotics.
In this way, there are three reasons why the concept of robotics has expanded its scope, attracted public attention, and the related industries have grown.
Demand for robots grows rapidly
One of the reasons why robotics is gaining attention is the problem of labor shortage. The construction industry and the transportation industry are expected to utilize robots due to a serious labor shortage.
In addition, there is another area where robots are expected to be used. That is the field of long-term care. Due to the aging society and the labor shortage of long-term care workers, it is expected that the demand for robots in the long-term care field will accelerate in the future.
Changes in the robot supply system
The second reason is that the supply system for the robot itself and related parts is changing.
The development of robotics has progressed, the practicality has improved, and at the same time, the spread of robots has progressed. As a result, despite the improvement in quality, the supply price of parts and software has become lower than before, and the supply has become more stable. With the development of the robotics industry, robots in the practical price range have begun to appear, and mass production is becoming a reality.
Technological progress to support the utilization of robots
And the third reason is that the technologies that support the utilization of robots are expanding and those technologies are advancing.
With the progress of IoT and AI, the social structure continues to change. Originally, research has been carried out as a completely different field from robotics. However, as each evolved, it became associated with robotics. In addition, by combining edge computing here, the reaction speed of the robot is further improved. By reducing the delay in reaction, it is possible to perform more precise movements with a higher system, and the possibilities for various uses are expanding.
That’s not the only effect of the encounter between robotics and edge computing. The performance of robots has improved and they are now used in more practical and important parts. However, at the same time, there are concerns about misuse by hacking. By combining edge computing with these concerns, it is possible to reduce the number of Internet routes. In other words, by utilizing edge computing, it is also possible to prevent terrorism that causes robots to run away due to misuse by hacking.
Until now, each independently evolved technology has been linked to robotics, and the scope of robotics has expanded and further advanced. Against this background, it can be said that the ground for further utilization of robots is in place.
What can robotics do?
So what can we do with evolving robotics? In fact, robots are already being used in various fields.
It is well known that welding robots and assembly robots are active in the manufacturing industry. Most of these are shaped like one big arm, but in recent years, both bowl-shaped ones that look like the upper body of a human have appeared.
Surgery support robots and in-hospital transport robots are active in the medical field. Also known are those used in the field of long-term care, such as power assist robots and transfer assistance robots.
In the agricultural field, unmanned tractors, rice transplanters, and weeding robots have already been introduced, and drones that are useful for situational photography and lifesaving searches in the event of a disaster can be said to be a type of robot. In the future, the supply of work support type robots will increase in various fields, and it is expected that they will spread to the base of each field.
To support the evolution of robotics, the government is also incorporating a “new industrial revolution by robots” as part of Japan’s revival strategy. With the “New Robot Strategy” as a guideline, our policy is to enhance society using robots.
In this “new robot strategy,” the following five fields are the focus of robot utilization.
In the field of manufacturing, it is necessary to utilize robots for labor-intensive work not only in large companies but also in small and medium-sized companies. Robots are also effective for foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other items that require a high level of hygiene. Furthermore, regarding the setup work and preparation processes that were previously difficult to robotize, we plan to explore new relationships with humans and the realization of craftsmanship by robots by utilizing robots.
In the service industry, the aim is to solve the labor shortage in the industry by leaving simple tasks in the wholesale / retail industry, accommodation / restaurant industry, etc. to robots. The theme is also the creation of new services related to the utilization of robots. In order to create educational services and entertainment from the value of the robot itself, we will promote technological development and environment improvement.
- Long-term care / medical care
There is a serious labor shortage at the nursing care site. Therefore, we are aiming to realize a field environment that can reduce the burden on long-term care workers by utilizing robotic long-term care equipment and provide both rewarding and fulfilling services. It is an effort to reduce the burden on long-term care workers with the support of robots while maintaining the basic concept that “long-term care should be provided by human hands”. In the medical field, the purpose is to reduce the burden on patients by using surgical support robots and medical equipment.
The priority promotion goals are automation of work using GPS automation system, mechanization and automation of heavy labor that relies on manpower, labor saving and high quality by robot and advanced sensing technology. Specific contents include automatic traveling tractors, assist suits, weeding robots, and precision cultivation using sensing technology.
- Infrastructure / disaster response / construction
Emphasis is placed on maintenance and management of more efficient and sophisticated infrastructure by robots, and quick grasp of disaster situation by disaster investigation robots. In the construction field, we are aiming to solve the labor shortage by introducing construction robot technology, realizing labor saving and automation, and reducing the risk of personal injury.
The government’s “New Robot Strategy” includes these contents. The development of the robotics-related industry is accelerating with the support for the realization of such robot utilization.
What will happen to the robotics market?
In this way, the government is pushing ahead with new robot strategies in Japan, but Japan is not the only country that has come up with policies related to such robots. Robot policies are included in the “National Robot Initiative (NRI)” in the United States, “Industry 4.0” in Germany, and “Made in China 2025” in China.
In this way, not only the efforts of each company but also the national policy are being tackled, and expectations for the development of robotics are increasing as a whole world. What will happen to the market for these robotics-related industries in the future?
Robotics market trends
Fuji Keizai surveyed the global market for business and service robots and announced it in 2018. According to this, the global market for business and service robots, software robots, and robot-related services is expected to grow significantly due to increased demand. The industry, which was 1,809.2 billion yen in 2017, is expected to grow 8.3 times to 14,955.3 billion yen in 2025. In particular, we expect that business and service robots for logistics / transportation and home use will grow significantly.
For the market forecast of industrial robots, you can refer to the 2010 Robot Industry Future Market Research announced by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization). The domestic market for industrial robots, including manufacturing, robotics, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and services, is expected to expand here as well. With 1.6 trillion yen in 2015, 2.9 trillion yen in 2020, 5.3 trillion yen in 2025, and 9.7 trillion yen in 2035, industrial robots are expected to receive more attention and demand.
The future of the robotics-related industry
In this way, robotics is expanding its scope and the market is expanding rapidly. Until now, companies engaged in robot-related businesses have been collectively referred to as the robotics-related industry. But now it’s including IoT and AI developers that weren’t once included, as well as the field of edge computing. With the development of robotics, the functions required of robots, and the technologies that can be realized, this industry is expected to expand further in the future.
Rapidly accelerating development of robotics-related industry and evolution of robots
He explained why the robotics-related industry is expanding rapidly and future market trends. In the future, the market size of the robotics-related industry will expand further, and the robots themselves that will be realized will also evolve. Robots will be used in all fields, and the robotics-related industry may become a central industry for the world.