Digital Technologies Are Key to Governing Robots and Drones
It would certainly be an understatement to say there are many exciting things afoot in the technology realm. There has been a tectonic shift throughout the last decade, with many emerging technologies making their presence felt, most notably involving robotics, drones, blockchain and artificial intelligence. While each technology is important in its own right, I would like to specifically focus on robotics and drones in this column.
Throughout the last few years, there have been significant strides made in the robotics and drones space that have resulted in these devices becoming increasingly smart, collaborative and mobile. Recent developments in ROS and FlytOS to Distributed ROS have made it possible for such machines to not only collaborate better, but also make more informed decisions. The advent of 5G will only aid real-time data transfer, thus enabling even faster decision making by such devices.
The development and affordability of many required sensors, like LIDAR, magnetometers, high-resolution cameras and servo motors, along with advancements on the software side, particularly in deep learning and image analytics, will enable robots and drones to make more intelligent, autonomous and real-time mission-critical decisions. As a result, these devices are now moving from being expensive and experimentative toys to legitimate machines that can solve real-world challenges in several industry segments. A few examples are:
- Industrial and Manufacturing: Robots can help to expedite assembly lines and increase output.
- Agriculture: Drones can help farmers with such tasks as monitoring farms, spraying pesticides, and detecting animals' locations and movements.
- Pandemics and Calamities: During pandemic outbreaks and other calamities, drones and robots can play a substantial role in arial sanitization, monitoring public spaces and facilitating appropriate social-distancing norms.
- Surveillance and Safety: Robots and drones are being increasingly used for security and surveillance. They can also utilize computer vision to provide real-time alerts regarding possible intrusions or break-ins into homes, offices or industrial plants.
- Warehouse and Material Handling: Smart robots are now replacing automated guided vehicles in warehouses for material transportation and handling, as they can easily identify goods and also move around warehouses while avoiding obstacles.
- Last-Mile Delivery: With beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) technology, robots and drones can facilitate last-mile delivery, which has always been an expensive part of the supply chain and delivery ecosystem.
- Retail Stores: Robots can make an impact across the value chain, from assisting customers with their shopping experience to inventory management and integration via ERP systems.