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2022 will be The Year of the Robot (again)

Florian Pestoni

It’s the start of a new year, and it’s customary to look at the year ahead. In addition, February 1st will mark the start of The Year of the Tiger in the Lunar calendar. 

Over here at InOrbit, we believe that it will also be The Year of the Robot. As companies across industries become more comfortable with the use of autonomous robots to augment their workforce, growth in robotics deployments is accelerating.

And it’s not just in car factories anymore: according to the Association for Advancing Automation (we’re a member), 2020 was the first year ever in which non-automotive robotics orders were larger than automotive orders. We predict that, once the numbers for 2021 are available, we will see this trend continue to accelerate. So with this context in mind, as we enter 2022 with a major labor shortage and significant supply chain disruptions, this will be once again the biggest year ever for robotics.

People have been predicting The Year of the Robot for a while now, and I don’t think that makes it any less accurate to claim that title for 2022. This is all part of a massive change in not just the adoption of robotics, but also digital transformation, labor conditions and expectations around work, consumer buying habits and a greater focus on sustainability. This seismic change doesn’t happen overnight. Time will tell, but we may look back at the 2020s as The Decade of the Robot.

Let’s get more specific for 2022. Rather than predict specific applications (we think robots will be deployed in every industry), at InOrbit we see 4 key areas poised for major technological advancements:


Getting basic data about robots as they go about their jobs in the real world is a necessary foundation.

Prediction #1: the cloud will become robots’ best friend, as forward-looking end users move past their reservations about cloud connections

Prediction #2: getting real-time data about all deployed robots through standardized interfaces will become the norm



In an ideal world, robots go about their jobs in fully autonomous mode all the time. In the real world, even the best robots have autonomy exceptions that require human intervention.

Prediction #3: end users making heavy use of robotics will set up an internal or outsourced robot operations center (ROC) to handle autonomy exceptions

Prediction #4: end users will start tracking mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) across their robot fleets as a Key Performance Indicator



Robots are often being deployed to handle a specific task, resulting in some initial improvements in efficiency. However, to fully realize the potential of every robot, ongoing optimization of deployments is required. 

Prediction #5: end users will demand continuous improvements in their processes, not just a one-time bump.

Prediction #6: robot developers will use more advanced tools for root cause analysis, comparison across individual robots or collections of robots.



During 2021, we saw growing traction for various interoperability solutions, such as the MassRobotics AMR Interoperability standard. Beyond making robots talk to each other, orchestration is a way to make many robots work together harmoniously.

Prediction #7: end users will not accept robots that work in a silo, favoring instead robot vendors that are actively engaged in interoperability initiatives.

Prediction #8: we will see growing adoption of coordination and collaborative tasks across robots from different vendors

That’s 8 bold predictions for the year to come, but we’re confident in a bright, evolving future for robotics. We’ll take a look back at these trends at the end of 2022, but in the meantime, enjoy The Year of the Robot. The future is definitely exciting and we’re proud to play our part in building it.