Smarter, autonomous robots, have been developed over the past five years thanks to advances in mobile computing, sensors and AI. Many of these robots are now being deployed to assist in the fight against COVID-19 in an effort to “flatten the curve” of cases or provide human-augmented services for companies providing essential functions.
In the pre-virus world, robotics was mainly positioned around delegating repetitive tasks. However, robots can also take on dangerous tasks. As we’ve seen with many front-line workers, whether they are in hospitals, grocery stores, or warehouses, a multitude of tasks just got a lot more dangerous due to COVID-19.
In the post-virus world, robotics companies need to double down on their message of how robots can take on the “dull, dirty and dangerous” tasks to protect humans. While many firms may wish to return to “business as usual” once the virus threat is diminished, robotics companies can take a leadership position in creating more efficient and safer processes to address future risks, including the resurgence of COVID-19 and new outbreaks.
This benefit extends to workers and customers across a multitude of industries by reducing the number of potential virus touchpoints that a product goes through in the supply chain.
Here are some examples:
More jobs and opportunities
These are a few examples, and we can imagine that roboticists will think of hundreds of other processes that can be made safer through robotics and automation. These new processes will continue to create opportunities and jobs for people to dispatch, supervise, maintain and service these robots. The new jobs will be much safer than previous tasks workers were doing before. In addition, new software that orchestrates the operations between these robotics systems, like InOrbit’s cloud platform, will be deployed across industries. The future post-pandemic world will be defined by new types of software, where people and robots work together, each contributing in their way to improve productivity and safety.
We are still in the early stages of the post-Covid world, and we have yet to realize several other societal changes that will occur. While robots may not be able to address all of these changes, we are certain that we are at the dawn of new innovations within robotics, automation and software development. For companies in this space, now is not the time to shrink back in investing in these opportunities, or for companies to wish for a return to “business as usual.” It is time for them to double down on innovations and investments, in order to prevent future generations from having to experience this type of pandemic crisis.