Robot Trends at CES 2020
Tue, April 20, 2021

Robot Trends at CES 2020

The 2019 World Robotics Report conducted by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) revealed that the annual global sales value of the industry reached $16.5 billion in 2018 / Photo by: wklzzz via 123RF

 

After bringing major changes in the manufacturing and industrial worlds, robots are starting to make their move into the wider world of business as well as our homes. Last year, we saw the increasing adoption of robotic innovations across food production, retail, healthcare, and distribution operations. The rapid adoption of these machines, however, will not stop. We can expect more developments in the next few years.

The 2019 World Robotics Report conducted by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) revealed that the annual global sales value of the industry reached $16.5 billion in 2018. There were 422,000 shipments across the world during that year – up by 6% compared with 2017 shipments. It is projected that there will be an average growth of 12% per year from 2020 to 2022. 

The report revealed that the sales value in the service robot category increased by 32% to $9.2 billion in 2018. According to Robotics Business Review, an online site that delivers “actionable business intelligence” to the global robotics and artificial intelligence industry, logistics systems represent 41%, which was followed by inspection and maintenance robots (39%) and service robots aimed at personal and domestic use (15%).

“We saw a dynamic performance in 2018 with a new sales record, even as the main customers for robots – the automotive and electrical-electronics industry – had a difficult year. The US-China trade conflict imposes uncertainty to the global economy – customers tend to postpone investments. But it is exciting that the mark of 400,000 robot installations per year has been passed for the first time. The IFR’s longer-term outlook shows that the ongoing automation trend and continued technical improvements will result in double-digit growth – with an estimate of about 584,000 units in 2022,” Junji Tsuda, president of the IFR, said. 

With the growing robotics industry, it’s not surprising that businesses and industries are eager to wait for new robotic innovations. Annual events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), run by the Consumer Technology Association, are important in showcasing trending and new technologies from companies and developers. 

All About CES 2020

The CES 2020 was recently held on Jan. 7 to Jan. 10 at Las Vegas, Nevada. It is an annual showcase of the world’s most cutting-edge gadgets, new-age applications, and futuristic products. CES, considered one of the largest conferences in the world, covered everything from robots, digital health, and smart cities to sex tech and the long-awaited 5G. It was reported that over 200,000 innovators gathered for the said event. 

Over 4,500 tech companies showcased their products and services at CES. However, the event is more than just product announcements. According to TechCrunch, an American online publisher that specifically reports on business related to tech, it also showcased the year’s largest tech trends. For instance, Hyundai announced that it will be partnering with Uber to develop a prototype of the flying taxi. The flying taxi with a 49-foot wingspan could travel up to 180 miles per hour and accommodate four passengers. 

The start of 2020 has been good for sextech startup Lora DiCarlo after being allowed to exhibit. Last year, the startup wasn’t allowed to showcase their innovations, sparking international debate about double standards when it comes to sex toys. This year, they were not only allowed to exhibit but they also opened the floodgates for all manner of other woman-focused sextech.

CES, considered one of the largest conferences in the world, covered everything from robots, digital health, and smart cities to sex tech and the long-awaited 5G. It was reported that over 200,000 innovators gathered for the said event / Photo by: Gb11111 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Robot Trends in CES 2020

The whole conference was filled with boots featuring tech products ranging from high-tech cosmetics to fertility robots. CES also became an avenue for aspiring startups and even established brands to show off their innovative and sometimes strange concepts. The event also presented many different innovations in the robotics market. Instead of discussing how robots have been replacing jobs, the event focused on how robots can assist humans to improve productivity and outcomes.

Here are some robot trends that were showcased at CES:

1 - MarsCat

For many years, CES has been full of robots of all kinds, from Buddy the companion robot to Sony’s Aibo dog. This year, startup Elephant Robotic introduced a robotic pet cat called MarsCat. According to TechRepublic, an online trade publication and social community for IT professionals, MarsCat is autonomous and responsive to interactions. It can feel touch, see faces, hear voices, and play with toys. It also knows 20 commands and phrases such as “come here” and “sit.” Since MarsCat’s personality develops based on its interactions with humans, it reacts differently depending on how it’s petted.

2 - BellaBot

MarsCat is not the only robotic pet cat showcased at CES. Chinese firm PuduTech introduced BellaBot, a robot cat designed to ferry plates of food to restaurant customers. According to the BBC, a British public service broadcaster, the robot features a screen showing cat-face animations and meows when it arrives at tables to encourage customers to pick up their food. At the same time, it reacts whenever customers touch them. For instance, the bot is programmed to say “The owner's hand is so warm” when the diners stroke BellaBot's ears. 

3 - Jennie

Aside from robot cats, a robot dog was also introduced at CES, mainly to serve as an emotional support robot. Jenni, an animatronic dog, was designed as a companion for seniors with dementia. At the same time, it can receive orders from parents of children with autism and people with PTSD. Jennie is the brainchild of Tom Stevens, founder and CEO of robotics startup Tombot. He was inspired to create this robot when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and had her dog taken away.

4 - LOVOT

If cats and dogs aren’t your thing, Lovot might be the right companion for you. Lovot is a small, cuddly creature by Japanese startup Groove X designed purely to evoke an emotive response. Kaname Hayashi, CEO of Groove X, stated that they created the robot to bridge the gap between our tech-driven lives and our happiness. “I saw that machines working on behalf of people don’t always make them happy and I wondered if something could be done about it,” he said. Hayashi and his team aim to develop a technology that will help people with emotional fulfillment.

These current robot trends showcased at CES are proof that the industry has so much potential. We can expect more of these innovations in the next few years as the industry grows.