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ABB Identifies New Frontiers for Robotics and AI in 2024

Marc Segura, President ABB Robotics Division, identifies three drivers for robotics-driven AI solutions in 2024, as ABB continues expansion into new segments not previously served by robotic automation.

1 – AI will drive new levels of autonomy in robotic applications

Accelerating progress in AI is redefining what is possible with industrial robotics. AI is enhancing everything from robots’ ability to grip, pick and place as well as their ability to map and navigate through dynamic environments. From mobile robots to cobots and beyond, AI is giving robots unprecedented levels of speed, accuracy, and payload carrying ability, enabling them to take on more tasks in settings like flexible factories, warehouses, logistics centers and laboratories.

“AI-enabled mobile robots can transform sectors like discrete manufacturing, logistics and laboratories,” said Segura. “Robots equipped with ABB’s new Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (Visual SLAM) technology, for example, have advanced mapping and navigation skills, granting new levels of autonomy, while greatly reducing the infrastructure needed by previous generations of guided robots. This paves the way for a shift from linear production lines to dynamic networks, creating significant efficiencies and taking on more dull, dirty and dangerous tasks, to enable workers to take up more rewarding jobs.”

2 – AI will see robots enter new sectors

The potential offered by AI-enabled robotics is influencing sectors far beyond manufacturing. In 2024, these technologies are expected to bring substantial efficiency improvements to more dynamic environments, such as healthcare and life sciences, as well as retail. Another example is the construction industry, where AI-powered robotics can make a material contribution to boosting productivity, enhancing safety and sustainable construction practices while spurring growth.

3 – AI will offer new opportunities for education and working with robots

The advances being made in AI and robotics are significant for training and education, closing the automation skills gap and making robots more accessible to more people and businesses. With AI making programming easier, through lead-through and even natural language, education can shift more towards how robots can assist humans more effectively, rather than just teaching programming skills. This transition will make robots more approachable and bring them to a wider audience, leading to new job prospects while helping alleviate labor and skills shortages.

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