Image two robotic devices side by side.

Machine learning and robotics are two fields fast becoming an essential part of our everyday lives.

The pairing goes hand-in-hand with both business innovation and increased productivity. From healthcare to manufacturing, many industries are being transformed as a result.

So, where are we currently and what might the future hold?

Let’s take a closer look.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry has been revolutionised by the power of robotics and artificial intelligence.

Current uses

Surgery is becoming safer and faster thanks to the introduction of robotics.

The reason? Robots have higher dexterity and accuracy than humans, meaning they can perform complex or intricate surgeries more efficiently. For the patient, this often results in faster recovery times.

Artificial intelligence has also transformed the way some patients are diagnosed. Machine learning allows for a much larger database of information – and can recognise patient descriptions of ailments. Just recently, we saw news that AI can diagnose heart disease within four seconds. This means robots can make accurate diagnoses without a doctor present and assist doctors to confirm tricky diagnoses.

This results in patients receiving the necessary treatment much more quickly.

What’s holding us back?

While this technology is becoming more common in healthcare, widespread adoption is yet to take place. There are a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, for some, the initial costs are too high. Despite robotics helping to save money in the long-term, the upfront payment can prevent medical facilities or areas from accessing the technology.

Also, many have reservations about the introduction of robotics and AI. Some people believe these robots will replace us in the workplace, but this isn’t the case. Workplaces will adapt to the technology; these machines will help doctors to do their jobs and ensure that people receive the treatment they need.

As technology continues to progress, more benefits will be unlocked for the healthcare industry. Collaboration in the fields of robotics and AI will have an integral role to play in ensuring this happens.

Manufacturing

Robots can carry out our dull, dirty, or tedious jobs with ease. One industry where this is particularly useful is manufacturing.

Current Uses

Robotics have been found to be more efficient than new or unskilled labour. Production lines have been revolutionised by the technology, generating more output at a lower cost.

For those working within manufacturing, this is a huge step forward and will help the industry keep up with modern demands.

Humans are still needed to work alongside the machines, of course, but the machines are carrying out certain tasks much more efficiently. This includes product inspection, assembly production and testing. When implemented correctly it won’t make hundreds of people jobless; rather, it will shift the nature of the work and remove the need to undertake the more mundane parts of the job.

What are the Benefits?

Using robots in this way unlocks a huge number of benefits, including:

  • Continuous production
  • The ability to perform complex functions
  • Freeing up of manpower (allowing workers to maximise skills in other areas)
  • Achieving ROI quickly – meaning they end up offsetting their upfront cost
  • Utility saving
  • Creating safer workspaces

Adoption of this technology allows businesses to stay competitive, giving them an edge in a saturated market. Manufacturing collaboration is essential here also.

Engineering

Robots can perform tasks too dangerous for humans to do so safely. The benefits of this are felt in many industries, including engineering.

Current Uses

Robotic motion, strength, and speed can be deployed in several different areas, such as on offshore wind farms.

The move towards a greener, cleaner planet requires the widespread use of renewable energy, of which offshore wind is just one option. However, carrying out necessary work (such as fixing wind turbines) involves engineers entering hazardous environments. Our large offshore wind farms in the North Sea, for example, are subject to high wind and wave conditions.

Utilising robots and drones to perform the necessary surveying and work ensures that humans aren’t at any risk.

What’s Next for this Technology?

Of course – this is only one small area within engineering where robots are used. However, it demonstrates the power of technology and gives us a glimpse into the future.

When widespread adoption occurs, productivity will continue to improve. Workers can also avoid mundane or risky tasks, focusing their energy on helping the industry progress.

Robots are helping numerous industries keep up with the demands of the modern age, and, going forward, will revolutionise the way that people work.


Article submitted by Innovate UK

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Comments