Service robots replacing human workers

17 October 2016

As technology improves and as prices fall, professional service robots are increasingly doing jobs formerly handled by human workers according to the recent IHS Markit report, which found that revenue from professional service robots reached $2.6 billion, with around 20,000 units shipped in 2015.

The emerging market for professional service robots is forecast to increase rapidly with a unit-shipment compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46%, from 2015 to 2020. After 2020, the global market for professional service robot markets will grow even faster, with more robots moving from prototype to commercialization in various applications.

According to the report – Service Robots and Drones Report – automated agricultural machinery is gradually replacing the work formerly handled by farmers. Demand for service robots has increased, especially for agricultural processes. 

In the logistics sector, service robots have been largely deployed in automatic warehouses and large companies are active in investing in logistics and automated warehouse applications, to reduce the number of workers and increase efficiency.

The medical and healthcare industries are also making progress in service robot deployment. With surgical robot prices falling, and their use in medical operation tasks growing, the medical industry is expected to continue to be one of the fastest growth sectors for robots. 

Regional differences 
In 2015, unit shipments of professional service robots in North America reached 35%, and revenue reached 37% of the total global market. Demand for robots is also strong in Europe, especially in energy, government, civil defence and rescue, maritime, shipping and ports and docks. In these industries, service robots are more expensive and more specialised. 

Thanks to their huge consumer markets, professional service robot unit shipments in Asia-Pacific will grow the fastest, at a CAGR of 50% from 2015 to 2020. Japan and Korea will lead in both domestic-help applications and entertainment and education robot applications. China will soon catch up and be the future industry powerhouse, thanks to strong support of the Chinese government.

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