An overview of recent key developments in the global market for robotics and a look ahead at the next five years
Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2011 and 2012, estimates for 2013, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2018
A review of the history of the robotics industry, and of the six basic types of robots: industrial, domestic service, professional service, security, space, and military
Examination of the basic technology and components (e.g., power supplies, end effectors) that are required on all types of robots
Discussion of the broader economic, national policy, and industrial development issues that support, and in some cases, impede the adoption of robotic technology
A developmental perspective of the robotics industry, as documented by its patent history
Comprehensive company profiles of major players in the industry.
The goal of this study was to present a comprehensive view of the global robotics industry from the research laboratory to the replacement parts business. To that end the study had three objectives:
In addition to its technology analysis and forecasts, this study includes a chapter containing background and contact information for key industry participants, and a patent analysis accompanied by a list of patent numbers and titles of the more than 700 robot patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since the previous BCC Research analysis.
In late 2010, BCC Research examined the robotics industry, and in April 2011 published a study in which it noted that technological and military needs had created a climate for the accelerated acceptance of robots far afield from the factory floor, their origin and current economic base. Those industry-sustaining innovations continued through 2012. BCC also observed a shift in the nature of improvements.
There have been two clear signals that a fundamental change in the industry has begun. The first of those signals is the rapidly accelerating pace of innovation. During 2012, the number of U.S. patent filings that referenced robots in their abstracts rose sharply, to an average of nine per week, twice the number of that during the industry's first 30 years. The second signal is contained in the nature of the ideas protected by those patents. A large number of the more than 700 inventions patented since BCC published its last study individually describe methods for improving a robot's ability to recognize and interact with its surroundings. In other words, these are the inventions that will give robots "situational awareness," a dynamic "sense of place" that allows truly autonomous operation. Situational awareness is the single most critical quality required by a robot before it can safely work alongside humans not as a tool, but as a partner. In the broader sense, a robot's acquisition of situational awareness also marks the transition moment for the industry, when robotics steps beyond being a sustaining technology and enters the realm of disruptive technologies, with the promise and uncertainty that such an advance implies.
Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets offers a granular level of detail that can be useful to executive and senior managers across the full spectrum of manufacturing and marketing activities in:
Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets provides both a review of recent key developments in robotics and a forecast that examines the industry from the perspective of robot makers and their traditional and prospective end users. The study itself is divided into eight chapters followed by an appendix. Chapters One through Five focus on the markets for robots and present the study's demand forecasts. Chapters Six and Seven, respectively, describe basic and advanced robotic components and systems. Chapter Eight is a patent analysis that includes names and titles of more than 700 patents referencing robots that have been issued since May 1, 2011. Abstracts of key patents, since the beginning of the industry, offer an historical perspective. The Appendix contains names, contact information, and brief descriptions of the major academic, government and commercial stakeholders in the broader robotics enterprise. A Summary Table with an accompanying chart and 77 additional tables, most of which present forecast data, round out the presentation.
This study excludes software applications known as Internet robots, automated machine tools, implanted medical devices, active prosthetics, and power-assisted "exoskeletons." Robot kits for hobbyists also have been omitted. Finally, because this study focuses exclusively on the product level, it omits robot-related engineering and systems integration services.
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in preparing this report. BCC Research has reviewed more than 1,000 companies and university-based robotics programs to obtain data for this study. It also reviewed reports and studies prepared for peer-reviewed professional literature, as well as reports by the technical staffs of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Energy Information Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation. Also consulted were Chinese, European, and Japanese counterparts of these organizations, as well as the United Nations and the World Bank. Other data came from robotics company and robotics association presentations at open sessions of scientific and technical conferences. Forecasts in this report examine demand for robots by region and by robot type.
James Wilson is the author of the 2007, 2009 and 2011 editions of Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets, as well as six other robotic-related studies published by BCC Research. In addition to his work as a technology analyst, Wilson previously served as editor of the Princeton Business Journal and as senior science and technology editor for Hearst Magazines. He is a past member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Medical Writers Association. Wilson served on the adjunct faculty of Temple University and on the staffs of Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences. His other robotics-related BCC studies are: