What are Professional Service Robots?
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
A New Form of Robotic Automation Outside of the Factory Setting
Professional service robots are a type of robot typically considered for use outside of a manufacturing facility within a professional setting. While industrial robots automate manufacturing tasks, professional service robots, which vary greatly in form and function, automate menial, dangerous, time-consuming, or repetitive tasks, effectively freeing human workers to perform more cognitive functions.
Most professional service robots are semi-autonomous or fully autonomous robots with some form of mobility. There are service robots that are intended to interact with people, typically deployed in a retail, hospitality, healthcare, warehouse or fulfillment setting. Others are deployed in more rugged settings, such as in space and defense, agricultural applications, and demolition, to automate dangerous or laborious tasks.
Alongside the continued advances in vision systems and technologies, motion control and motors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as cloud computing, the capabilities and applications of professional service robots are expanding at an exponentially faster rate than ever before.
With virtually limitless automation benefits outside of the factory setting, professional service robots offer varied and exciting new market growth opportunities.
The Market for Professional Service Robots
The professional service robots market has seen modest growth over the past two decades. The last few years, however, have seen rapid growth and technological advancement, and this trend is only expected to continue.
In 2017, sales of professional service robots rose considerably – approximately 85% over 2016, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). Sales value increased by 39% in 2017 to $6.6 billion, up from 2% in 2016, but still a slow rate primarily due to the significant decrease of high value defense robots.
Strong market growth for professional service robots is expected over the next few years. The latest projections from the IFR show an average growth rate of 21% through 2021, ultimately reaching a value of $37 billion.
As research and development progresses at a steady pace, professional service robots grow in capabilities while becoming a more commercially viable option in a wide range of industries. The expanding market for professional service robots is only just beginning to grow. As these robots break into more and more markets, they’ll bring numerous benefits to a wide range of industries and applications.
Benefits of Professional Service Robots
Professional service robots automate many different tasks in a diverse set of applications, but the benefits they bring are typically the same. Regardless of industry or application, businesses choose to automate processes for the same reasons: safety, efficiency and productivity.
Safety is a primary consideration when businesses choose to deploy professional service robots. Rather than replacing human workers, robots can handle dangerous tasks while humans focus on more cognitive-oriented tasks that keep them away from dangerous situations. For example, professional service robots used in the defense sector aim to protect soldiers from harm during combat. Similarly, demolition robots are used to keep workers away from structural or nuclear dangers during the demolition process. Professional service robots can safely go where human workers cannot.
In addition to safety, improving efficiency is another primary consideration for businesses that use professional service robots. Efficiency is typically gained through impeccable levels of robot uptime and reduced operating costs. Inspection robots and industrial cleaning robots operate with very little downtime, allowing them to provide more comprehensive coverage of large infrastructures. Logistics robots can transport a high volume of products while lowering labor costs, too.
Like all robotic automation, professional service robots often open the door to greater data collection and analysis for ongoing optimization of all operations. Agriculture robots can transmit important visual data to monitor the health of crops and livestock. Customer service robots can even track customer behavior during face-to-face encounters to gain a deeper understanding of consumer motivations and desires. Essential operational data such as this is much more difficult or impossible to collect through manual processes.
In the end, professional service robots all contribute to productivity in one form or another. Some may excel at safety, while others may excel at data collection or efficiency, but the end result is almost always a major increase in productivity. The productivity gains of these robots help businesses of all kinds justify the investment in professional service robots.
Types and Uses of Professional Service Robots
In addition to the types of professional service robots listed above, there are many more uses and forms of these robots. As an exciting new technology with major productivity potential, professional service robots are being developed and deployed in a wide range of industries and applications.
Contact: Monica Zhang