Demand for service robots
seen at breakthrough: industry body
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[October 12, 2016]
(Reuters) - Demand for service robots is expected to accelerate in the
next three years as robots - already used to perform tasks such as
assisting medical surgery, milking cows or moving objects around
warehouses - become more popular for domestic and personal use.
Global turnover of service robots - which include robots that can mow
the lawn or clean windows - is forecast to increase to about $46 billion
in the 2016-2019 period, compared with about $7 billion in 2015, the
International Federation of Robotics said on Wednesday.
Service robots, which perform tasks useful for humans and are often
mobile, are distinguished from industrial robots, which are used in
automated manufacturing and are normally kept in cages on factory
Industrial robots, with global sales worth an estimated $46 billion
including software and systems last year alone, are still a far bigger
market, but growth that has been driven by Chinese demand is slowing.
"The demand for service robots is seeing a historic breakthrough," IFR
President Joe Gemma said in a statement.
"In addition to the already established business with professional
service robots the personal and domestic segment is increasingly
Major players in service robotics include Intuitive Surgical, iRobot
Corporation and Google of the United States, China's DJI and Germany's
Kuka. Several hundred start-ups are also active in the market.
Robots for professional and for personal and domestic use are seen as
accounting for roughly equal shares of the service robotics market
In the professional field, sales of medical robots rank ahead of
agricultural and then logistics applications.
[to top of second column]
A da Vinci Xi Surgical System made by Intuitive Surgical is
demonstrated at the Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California
December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake
faster-growing personal and domestic market is dominated by household robots
such as vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and window cleaners. Demand for
entertainment robots including toys and hobby systems is also growing fast.
Sales of humanoid robots as human companions for everyday tasks have until now
not been significant, after the first ones were shipped in 2004 to international
laboratories and universities for research and development.
But about 8,000 are expected to be sold through 2019 as companies including
Japan's Honda, Kawada and Toyota develop them beyond the toy and leisure stage.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Adrian Croft)
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