Top Five Robot Trends for 2024

The International Federation of Robots announced its top 5 robot trends for 2024:
1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in robotics and automation continues to be a growing trend as the emergence of generative AI opens-up new solutions. Generative AI is designed to create something new using things the program has learned through training. ChatGPT is a popular example of such. Generative AI-driven interfaces are being developed by robot manufacturers to allow users to program robots more intuitively through natural language rather than code. With the emergence of this new technology, workers will no longer require specialized programming skills to set and adjust robot’s actions.

Predictive AI is another form of artificial intelligence that can be used in conjuncture with robots to improve efficiency. Predictive AI can analyze robot performance data to anticipate the future state of equipment. Using predictive maintenance can reduce machine downtime, leading to massive cost-savings. Machine learning algorithms also have the capability to analyze data from multiple robots performing the same function for optimization.

diagram showing the top five robot trends for 2024
2. Cobots Expanding to New Applications
Collaboration between humans and robots is another growing trend. Thanks to advancements in vision technologies, sensors and smart grippers, robots can now respond in real-time to changes in environmental allowing them to work safely alongside humans.

The range of collaborative robot applications offered by robot manufactures continues to expand. Applications can include relieving and supporting human workers with tasks that require heavy lifting, dangerous work environments or repetitive motions.

Recently, an increase in cobot welding applications has been driven by a shortage of trained welders, illustrating that automation offers a means to solve labor shortages rather than causing them.

3. Mobile Manipulators
Mobile manipulators, also known as MoMas, automate material handling tasks in industries including automotive, logistics and aerospace. By combining the dexterity of manipulator arms with the mobility of robotic platforms, MoMas can navigate complicated environments and manipulate objects. Similar to cobots, MoMas has the ability to collaborate with and support human workers.
4. Digital Twins
Digital twin technology can be leveraged as a tool to optimize the performance of physical systems by creating replicas virtually. As robots become more and more digitally integrated in factories, digital twins are able to use real-world operational data to run simulations and predict the most likely outcomes. The ‘twins’ exist entirely as a computer model allowing for stress-testing and modifications to be made with no safety implications, all while saving costs. The AI technology can be used for experimentation before altering any physical systems.
5. Humanoid Robots
The robotics industry is seeing notable advancements in humanoids, robots designed to execute a wide range of tasks across varying environments. These robots have human-like designed with two arms and two legs, giving the robots flexibility in work environments that were originally designed with humans in mind. The humanoid features of these robots allow for a more seamless integration into existing warehouse processes and infrastructures.